Why is There an Easter Bunny for Easter?
What does a rabbit have to do with one of the most important Christian holidays?
There probably doesn't need to be a bible expert available to know that there's no mention of a long-eared, fluffy tailed, egg-laying entity in the good book. Nor does it mention a giant, big-toothed, wide-eyed, whiskered creature stealthily delivering and hiding colorful eggs for well-behaved children.
Yet somehow the Easter Bunny has become synonymous with the day that Christians believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven to be seated at the right hand of the Father.
Where Does the Easter Bunny Come From?
One theory is that the Easter Bunny stems from early pagan celebrations around the vernal equinox. Celebrated during this time was the springtime renewal of life, along with the goddess of dawn and fertility, known as Eostre, who was often represented by the hare or an egg.
History.com reminds us that rabbits are known as prolific procreators, and are an ancient symbol of fertility and new life. Now are you catching the Easter vibes?
As Christianity began to spread throughout Europe, it is possible that the resurrection of Christ and the celebration of the vernal equinox became one, as they both happen around the same time. Missionaries were said to blend pagan traditions with Christian celebrations in order to make an easier transition for new believers.
Modern Easter Bunny
While the origins of the Easter Bunny that we know and love today are unclear, one source says that the very first publication of a rabbit hiding eggs in a garden, a more modern version of the Easter Bunny, was first done so in the 1600's in Germany.
This rabbit, known as “Osterhase” or "Oschter Haws" or even the more identifiable Easter hare, was believed to lay a nest of colorful eggs for children that were well-behaved. It is believed that children would make the nests for the rabbit to lay its eggs, and would often times leave carrots in their forged nests in case he got hungry on his late night escapades.
This tradition is first believed to have hit the shores of the United States in the 1700's when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania.
Eventually, the traditions spread across the U.S. and the fabled bunny's gifts expanded to include chocolate and other types of candy and gifts. Decorated baskets bottom-lined "grass" replaced the built nests.
Oh, the chocolate bunny rabbits you enjoy so much? They came from Germany too, where they began making pastries for zee Easter hare in the 1800's.