Granted, it’s been a couple years since you’ve been to church. Even when you went, maybe you weren’t that big into actually reading the passages or studying the Bible. We get it, your family was culturally religious. So it’s no surprise if you get to thinking and wonder, why the Easter Bunny? Where did the Easter Bunny come from, anyway? And what does the bunny have to do with Easter?
Don’t worry, we’re breaking down those burning questions and giving you some background on the Easter Bunny history so you can enjoy your marshmallows, jelly beans and chocolate free from all those big, bothersome thoughts.
So, why the Easter Bunny? And where did the Easter Bunny come from?
If you’re asking why the Easter Bunny is a thing during this springtime holiday season, you’re in good company. But, don’t worry, the Easter Bunny history clears things up a little.
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Although there are numerous theories about where exactly the tradition of the Easter Bunny began, History.com gives the most weight to the idea that it came over with German Lutherans when they immigrated to Pennsylvania. The German Lutheran tradition featured “an egg-laying hare called ‘Osterhase’ or ‘Oschter Haws’” or Easter Hare.
This Easter Bunny ancestor was pretty similar to Santa Claus. Like the jolly old man, the Easter Hare acted as a sort of judge, weighing kids’ behavior during Eastertide to decide if they were deserving of gifts like small toys, colored eggs and candies or chocolates. As this tradition developed in the United States another similarity to Santa emerged; as History.com notes, “children often left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all his hopping.”
And that annoying Easter grass that never seems to go away? It might come from the tradition of building nests for this Easter Hare in which it could lay its colorful eggs. Now you know.
OK, but what does the bunny have to do with Easter?
Although it’s clearly a tradition that’s driven more by commercialism now than history, there’s still some symbolism in all those plastic pieces and chocolate candies. Rabbits have long been associated with springtime because the season is like new life for the Earth, when blossoms bloom again after the barrenness of winter, and the animals are known for their highly energetic, shall we say, reproduction.
But what does the bunny have to do with Easter in terms of Christian tradition? That seems to go back to the medieval belief that rabbits and hares were hermaphroditic, and could therefore reproduce as virgins. Overtime, this lead to rabbits being associated with the Virgin Mary.
Whether you’re celebrating Easter Sunday 2018 with an egg hunt or baskets filled to the bring with chocolate after church, you can now enjoy your treats free of that nagging question: why the Easter Bunny?