The Easter Bunny. He hops into Spring with his fluffy white cotton tail, bringing joy to millions of children everywhere. Depending on your family’s tradition, he may hide eggs or leave pastel baskets in his wake, filled with sweet treats – only to leave your little ones on a permanent sugar high. But have you ever wondered how this cheerful, oversized stuffed animal and the tradition of Easter eggs came to be?
Spring symbolizes life and rebirth, which is why the rabbit has always been associated with the season. The rabbit has long been considered a symbol of fertility and new life, due to the animal’s ability to quickly reproduce…well, like a rabbit. History.com goes on to explain…
“According to some sources, the Easter bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws.” Their children made nests in which this creature could lay its colored eggs. Eventually, the custom spread across the U.S. and the fabled rabbit’s Easter morning deliveries expanded to include chocolate and other types of candy and gifts, while decorated baskets replaced nests. Additionally, children often left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all his hopping.” According to Wikipedia… The custom of Easter eggs was first mentioned in 1682 referring to a German tradition of an Easter Hare bringing Easter eggs for the children. In addition, Orthodox churches have a custom of abstaining from eggs during the fast of Lent. The only way to keep them from being wasted was to boil or roast them. As a special dish, they would have been decorated as part of the celebration. Later, German Protestants retained the custom of eating colored eggs for Easter. Boiling eggs in combinations with flowers to change their colour, bringing the spring into the homes and over time adding the custom of decorating eggs.
So there you have it… How this folkloric character became the poster child for this famed spring holiday.