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From decorating eggs to eating Peeps, USA TODAY explains the origins of modern-day Easter traditions.

Easter egg

The symbol of the egg may have origins in pagan rituals celebrating the spring season. The religious symbolism is the resurrection of Jesus.

Decorating eggs for Easter dates back to at least the 13th century, according to the History channel. Dying eggs red symbolized the blood of Christ.

The Easter egg is also a byproduct of Lent, as many families would give up eggs during those fast days, which end with Easter.

MORE: 10 things you didn't know about Easter eggs

Easter bunny

One theory is the Easter bunny also comes from pagan rites of spring, brought to the U.S. by 18th-century German settlers in Pennsylvania.

These settlers prepared nests for the bunny in their gardens or barns and waited for Easter Eve for the rabbit, known as "Oschter Haws," to lay eggs, according to Christianity Today.

Peeps

The marshmallow candies now synonymous with Easter have their origins in a candy company created by Russian immigrant Sam Born. Born first opened a factory in the early 20th century in Brooklyn before moving his operations to Bethlehem (yes, Bethlehem!), Penn., in 1932.

Starting in the 1950s, a marshmallow Peep was made by hand-squeezing marshmallow through pastry tubes, according to the candy's website, Just Born.

Each year, 2 billion Peeps are produced, with 75% made specifically for Easter, according to an e-mail from the company.

According to Just Born, nearly a third of Peeps products purchased aren't consumed, but are used for other purposes, like Peeps dioramas.

White House Easter Egg Roll

Since 1878, when Rutherford B. Hayes was in office, American presidents have hosted the "egg roll" on the White Houses' South Lawn, according to the White House Historical Association website.

The tradition of egg rolling actually began around the Capitol building. Starting in the 1870s, Washingtonians converged there to celebrate Easter, but the brightly colored eggs made a mess of the lawn. In 1876, President Ulysses Grant signed a law that banned egg rollers on Capitol grounds, according to the website.

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