In honor of Easter this Sunday, Bustle has put together a list of 10 facts about how and why we celebrate this springtime holiday. Here they are:
1. Giving eggs is a tradition that dates back even farther than Easter. Eggs have been viewed to be symbolic of “new life,” so they’re extremely popular in the spring. But since Jesus was resurrected, it makes even more sense for eggs to be a proper Easter-related present.
2. Americans buy more than 700 million Peeps during the holiday. According to David Johnson from InfoPlease, yellow Peeps are the most popular.
3. Half of the United States agrees that chickens shouldn’t be dyed for Easter. It sounds like common knowledge, but some people still think that multicolored poultry is festive. While nontoxic dye typically doesn’t pose a health risk to baby chicks, it’s still a little inhumane.
4. “Easter” was named from the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre. At least, this is what the author and English monk known as Bede stated in the book he wrote back in the eighth century. This goddess in particular was known for spring time celebrations and fertility. Some believe that Eostre (also sometimes spelled “Eastre”) also had a connection with two other big Easter items–hares and eggs.
5. The white lily is the official flower of Easter. As they represent grace and purity, many churches and homes have chosen to decorate with the white lily for the holiday. In fact, they’re commonly known best as “Easter lilies.”
6. President Rutherford B. Hayes created the annual White House “egg roll,” which is still done today. Who knew if Rutherford thought that the egg roll tradition would last so long? The First Family is celebrating the Monday after Easter this year, for the 138th time. More than 35,000 people are expected to show up, and the theme is set to be “Let’s Celebrate!”
7. Back in the day, pretzels were often used to celebrate Easter. Why, might you ask? Well, envision a big soft pretzel. The twists can be seen as arms crossing in prayer. In fact, back in the day, there were pretzel hunts instead of egg hunts. Some even believe that pretzels were invented with Lent in mind, as they could be baked without the use of animal parts.
8. It’s estimated that Americans spend $131, on average, every Easter. Between the candy, dinner, and decor, that’s a big chunk of change. And such a weird figure, too–hopefully that “1” in “131” is allotted for peanut butter eggs.
9. Americans eat about 16 million jelly beans every Easter. Peeps may be the star of your Easter basket, but they’re not the only candy that gets a boost on Easter. While a few of them get accidentally tossed while hiding in plastic Easter grass, a majority of them are consumed by adults and children across America. William Schrafft invented the jelly bean back in the late 1800’s, and his original goal was to send them overseas to our soldiers. He probably had no idea that they’d one day become almost synonymous with “Easter candy.”
10 Easter is the oldest, and most important, Christian holiday. You might assume it’s Christmas, but it’s actually Easter. To understand its impact, keep in mind that very early Christians celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ every single Sunday, until they decided to dedicate a full, annual day to him. Even though Easter started as a pagan holiday, Christians adopted it, and many who celebrate don’t pay any mind to the pagan aspects of it (like, for example, the Easter bunny). Many believe that Easter is the backbone of Christianity.