Have you ever wondered how the Easter bunny came to be the representation of Easter? If that’s the case, you’re not alone. So, how did the Easter Bunny get his job as a colorful Easter egg deliverer? Rabbits are mammals, after all, and they don’t even lay eggs. Shouldn’t an animal that lays eggs, such as a duck or a chicken, be the symbol for Easter?
Rabbits have traditionally been linked with spring and fertility in Germany, dating back to pre-Christian times. According to Wikipedia, the word Easter is from the Old English expression Eostre, which referred to April (in the old calendar). In reality, Eostra, the pagan Germanic goddess of spring and fertility, was represented by a rabbit. This isn’t shocking considering rabbits’ proclivity for reproducing. Rabbits can breed at an early age and can have several litters each year.
So why does the Easter bunny bring eggs?
Many of us love chocolate eggs at Easter, but eating eggs throughout the weeks prior to Easter was once prohibited by church authorities (AKA Holy Week). For centuries, the Christian church prohibited the eating of eggs and other foods such as meat, wine, cheese, and milk, during Lent, rendering them a special treat to consume again on Easter. (Lent is a six-week cycle of fasting, penance, repentance of sins, and self-denial that starts six weeks before Easter and ends six weeks later). As a result, any eggs laid during the week were saved and painted to make Holy Week eggs, which were then given as gifts to kids.
Children would build nests for the Easter bunny to “lay” the colorful and painted eggs, and the event became popular among children. They would leave carrots for the rabbit if he got hungry, and Easter egg hunts became a part of the festival.
Celebration of Spring
Spring is celebrated in many countries; after a cold winter, spring represents the start of the growing season and the regeneration of life. In Japan, the Vernal Equinox Day is a major holiday during which time is traditionally spent visiting ancestors’ graves and attending family gatherings. The egg is also a representation of Passover in the Seder plate’s Jewish tradition, which acts as the Seder table’s centerpiece.
Although delicious foods and colorful eggs are popular ways to commemorate the festival, chocolates and candies are particularly popular among children. Chocolate eggs are the most common Easter delicacy since eggs have traditionally been linked with the festival, and children adored them. As a result, it has become a common Easter activity.