As we all know, Easter is the Christian celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, but the seasonal chocolate eggs and the bunny who delivers them are nowhere to be found in the scripture.
The exact origins of the Easter bunny are coated in mystery. One theory says that the symbol of the rabbit stems from pagan tradition, specifically the festival of the Teutonic deity, Eostra which is a goddess of fertility whose animal symbol was a bunny because of the animal’s high reproduction rate and feasts were held in her honor on the Vernal Equinox.
And Rabbits, are as well known for their energetic breeding, have traditionally symbolized fertility.
However, eggs represent new life which could as well mean resurrection, and it’s believed that decorating eggs for Easter dates back to the 13th century.
Hundreds of years ago, churches had their congregations abstain from eggs during Lent, allowing them to be consumed again on Easter. During the 19th century, Russian high society started exchanging ornately decorated eggs on Easter.
According to some sources, the Easter bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants that settled in Pennsylvania and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws.”
Their children had to make nests in which this creature could lay its colored eggs. Gradually, the custom spread across the U.S. and the fabled rabbit’s Easter morning deliveries increased to include chocolate and other types of candy and gifts, as decorated baskets replaced nests.
In addition to that, children often left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all his hopping.
However, bunnies aren’t the animal traditionally associated with Easter in every country. Some identify the holiday with other types of animals like foxes or cuckoo birds.