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Eventually, they became associated with spring's most celebrated holiday, Easter.
— Hundreds of thousands of people in the Triangle will celebrate Easter this weekend.
Many of them will mark the holiday with traditional Easter eggs and bunnies.
But what do those things have to do with the real meaning of the holiday - the death and resurrection of Christ?
WRAL's Tracy Wilson set off to find out by going Out & About.
It turns out the Easter egg is a commercial staple today, but it does have some ties to the religious meaning of the holiday.
Easter bunnies have their beginnings traced back to pagan festivals, as symbols of fertility and life.
Sometime later, in the 1500's, Germans incorporated the bunny into their celebration of the Easter season.
First, she investigated the Easter egg, the most universal of the Easter symbols.
The exchange of eggs actually predates Easter by centuries.
Originally they were painted with bright colors to symbolize the sunlight of spring.
Later, they were colored, etched and exchanged as romantic gifts, just as valentines are today.