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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.

Yuji: If this is such a Holy day for the Christians, why do they name it after a pagan goddess, one related to sex no less?

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!