Our Easter celebrations often go hand-in-hand with the Easter Bunny.
Little ones look forward to classic egg hunts when they can fill their Easter baskets, or awaken early to see what kinds of chocolate treats and gifts the mythical creature has left at their home overnight!
It’s probably the one day of the year when we can justify eating chocolate for breakfast…
Like Santa Claus and Christmas, the mysterious bunny has no obvious connections to the Christian post-Lent holy day.
So why has it become such a popular symbol in our modern day celebrations?
The earliest evidence of a more modern Easter Bunny dates back to the 1600s, when it was first mentioned in German writings. This rabbit, called “Oschter Haws” or Easter hare, was believed to lay a nest of colourful eggs for children who were good.
Why is it the Easter bunny and not a chicken?
The rabbit and the egg became intertwined with the spring holiday because of their pagan roots representing fertility and rebirth. It seems possible that these two images merged into the egg-laying rabbit of German lore, instead of a (practical) chicken!
Regardless of who’s laying them, eggs are a prominent Easter image that have come to represent Christ’s emergence from the tomb and resurrection.
One possible reason for decorating eggs is that they were adorned for enjoyment on Easter morning once fasting for Lent was finished.
Whether it was pagan or Christian associations with the rabbit that ultimately influenced the Germans, we may never know. But one thing is certain: The Easter Bunny will continue to bring joy and excitement to children across the country every Easter Sunday.
Easter Sunday falls on April 4th 2021