It’s no wonder that when early Christians were casting about for a season suitable for resurrection, they chose Spring. The ancients knew it as a time when the seemingly dead plants, seeds, and bulbs miraculously returned to life.
About 200 B.C. mystery cults began to appear in Rome just as they had earlier in Greece. Most notable was the Cybele cult centered on Vatican Hill … Associated with the Cybele cult was that of her lover, Attis (the older Tammuz, Osiris, Dionysus, or Orpheus under a new name). He was a god of ever-reviving vegetation. Born of a virgin, he died and was reborn annually. The festival began as a day of blood on Black Friday and culminated after three days in a day of rejoicing over the resurrection. —Gerald L. Berry, Religions of the World
Fertility goddesses like Oestre were celebrated through the symbols of fecundity–egg-laying hens and prolific rabbits. That’s why the Easter Bunny brings eggs.