Carvin Goldstone.

Durban - While Christians observe Easter with communion and prayer, others choose to ring in the season with chocolate eggs and hot cross buns. 

The Easter period also happens to fall in the middle of the first school break, with parents using the opportunity to create a fun experience for their children. 

But what does bunnies and eggs have to do with Easter and where does the word Easter come from?

According to History.com, rabbits are said to symbolise new life and was introduced by the Germans to welcome the season of Spring. 

Legend has it that the Easter Bunny lays, decorates and hides eggs as they are also a symbol of new life. 

Dr Wilhelm Meyer from UKZN's School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics said the word Easter comes from Eostra, the name of the Germanic pagan goddess of Spring. 

"It got attached to the Christian feast because in Europe it is springtime. Eggs are linked with Easter because of Spring and so are the bunnies because of the rabbits that come out in Spring."

Meyer said the traditions of chocolate and baking began in the 1700 and 1800 when most people began to be urbanised. 

"The mass production of chocolate and so on is from the 20th century and is purely commercial."

People are known to spend up to R70 for a box of 48 marshmallow eggs and up to R200 for a 600g chocolate Easter egg bag. Prices can go up to R500 for a pack of Easter eggs depending on the brand.

Hot cross buns, a cinnamon bun normally made with raisins, is also eaten on Good Friday and has been a long standing tradition, with the pastry cross on top of the bun symbolising and reminding Christians of the cross that Jesus was killed on.

Comedian Carvin Goldstone admits to being a victim to the seasonal commercialism.

"I buy them, I won't lie. Yes, they are over priced but I don't really look at the price. It is more of a seasonal time. It is a time that takes you back to your childhood. A taste of nostalgia."

Goldstone has two children, Jakin, 9, and Cara, 2, both of whom love Easter.

"My son loves Easter. It's a big thing for him. My daughter is learning about the traditions and this would be her first year where she is actually cognisant of what's going on around her." 

He said he usually planned an Easter egg hunt for his son. 

"I love hiding the Easter eggs in plain sight and watching him search every corner of the garden for something that is right in front of him. It's hilarious."

Goldstone is currently on a worldwide comedy tour in Thailand. 

Radio presenter Lloyd Paul said Easter was about spending time with his loved ones - in between performing at Easter events.

"Church is priority on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, especially celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter eggs, bunnies and hot cross buns are definitely on the menu. It adds to the celebrations."

Asked if the notion of Easter eggs could affect children's understanding behind Easter, Meyer said it all depended on their parents.

"If Christian parents educate their children in their tradition then they should not be confused. Secular people should just enjoy the sweets and not worry. 

"The difference is between people who want to uphold Christian traditions and those who don't. But I see no harm in parties and Easter egg hunts. They are fun and this is a time of celebration."

At the weekend, Africa’s largest Easter Egg Hunt will take place at uShaka Marine World where 100 000 marshmallow and chocolate eggs will be stowed in nooks and crannies throughout the theme park. 

An Easter Dolphin Show, Beacon Bunny Egg and Spoon Race, Musical Chairs and Sack Race will form part of the activities. 

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