Yuji: Hey, what’s the Easter Bunny got to do with Jesus Christ?
Dane: You got me. I have no idea.
Yuji: But you’re a Christian, aren’t you?
Dane: No. Only culturally. I grew up in a Christian culture but I never joined any Church.
Yuji: So, you’re Christian like most Japanese are Buddhist.
Dane: That’s right. So stop asking me stuff about Christianity.
Yuji: You know more about it than I do. So what do you know about Easter?
Dane: I’ll try. But I warn you, it won’t be the gospel.
Yuji: You mean only what you learned on Wikipedia?
Dane: Something like that. Your question was, “What is Easter.” Easter is Resurrection Day, the day Jesus came back to life.
Yuji: Oh, just like reincarnation in Buddhism?
Dane: I’m not sure. What is the Buddhist idea of reincarnation?
Yuji: Reincarnation is when a person dies and his spirit comes back to life in another body.
Dane: Resurrection is different. Jesus came back in the same body.
Yuji: Like a zombie?
Dane: No, not like a zombie! Zombies are the living dead. Jesus came back spirit and all.
Yuji: We’re getting off track. Can you keep it simple?
Dane: Okay, let me try again. You know da Vinci’s painting The Last Supper, don’t you?
Yuji: Yes. Who doesn’t?
Dane: Well, that was on a Thursday. His twelve disciples, main followers, were all there. One of them told the Roman police Jesus would be at the dinner.
Yuji: Why did the police want him?
Dane: Forget about it. That’s another story.
Yuji: OK. So they’re all having dinner and the police come. Then what happens?
Dane: They take him to prison and torture him, then they make him carry a heavy wooden cross to the top of a hill. They nail him to it and let him bleed to death. That was on a Friday. It’s now called Good Friday.
Yuji: Good Friday? What’s good about killing God. Besides, if he was a God, how could he be killed?
Dane: Not a God. Jesus was the son of God. The point is, Jesus was a real person, like you or me. On that day his human body died and his spirit joined God in Heaven.
Yuji: And that’s why they call it Good Friday?
Dane: Right. But the story didn’t end when he died.
Yuji: Oh, yeah. He came back on Easter.
Dane: Kind of. On Saturday they put his body in a cave and blocked it shut with a huge boulder until they could prepare his funeral.
Yuji: Oh, and when they come back to bury him, they find him trying to dig his way out of the cave?
Dane: Not exactly. The boulder had been moved and the cave was empty. Jesus’ body was gone.
Yuji: So someone came in and stole the body.
Dane: No, if anyone tried to move the stone, there would’ve been marks on the ground. There was no sign of anything outside the entrance.
Yuji: It sounds like a real mystery!
Dane: Yes. It is a mystery, and that mystery is an important part of the Christian belief.
Yuji: So Jesus never died. He could be anywhere!
Dane: No, 40 days later, he died. This time his followers saw him ascend to Heaven. They call that Ascension Day.
Yuji: What was he doing for those 40 days?
Dane: That’s another part of the mystery; they don’t really know.
Yuji: Did he make any repeat appearances after Ascension Day?
Dane: Well, actually yes, he did. Ten days after that he visited his followers again, but this time as a spirit only.
Yuji: He was a ghost?
Dane: No, more like an angel. He came to give them a pep talk, then went back up to Heaven and has never been seen on Earth since.
Yuji: What do they call that day, Holy Halloween?
Dane: No, it’s called the Holy Pentecost.
Yuji: That sounds like a warehouse store, like Costco.
Dane: It means the fiftieth day after Easter. Penta means five in ancient Greek. You know, like the five-sided Pentagon building in Washington.
Yuji: OK. But what about the name Easter? Does that have anything to do with the east?
Dane: No. In fact, Easter has nothing to do with Christianity. It’s the name of the German goddess of fertility.
Dane: Ahh, there’s another mystery! Easter used to be the old Teutonic Spring festival. The Christians just replaced it with their own Resurrection Day.
Yuji: And they didn’t bother to change the name? That’s weird.
Dane: They changed the names of other pagan holidays.
Yuji: What holidays?
Dane: The Roman Saturnalia and Lupercalia became Christmas and Valentines Day and the Celtic Samhain was changed to Halloween. But they didn’t bother to rename Easter.
Yuji: Does that have anything to do with the Easter Bunny?
Dane: As a matter of fact, now that I think about it, it does.
Yuji: So, we’re back to square one: What is the connection between the Easter Bunny and Jesus Christ?
Dane: The goddess had a pet rabbit.
Yuji: That’s it? No way!
Dane: Really. What happens when you put a male and a female rabbit together?
Yuji: You get a litter of baby rabbits.
Dane: Exactly! And that’s why the goddess of fertility chose a bunny rabbit as her pet.
Yuji: And all of that is why the Christian holidays are called Good Friday and Easter?
Dane: You got it.
Yuji: Well! It looks like I’m not the only one who is confused!