It’s spring…and what does springtime mean? Bunnies! One of the most quintessential symbols of springtime is the good old rabbit and this is with very good reason. That wily hare has been a symbol of fertility for centuries as his amazing reproductive ability has set the bar pretty high when it comes to populating the earth with lots of hoppy little critters. Believe it or not, the bunny can actually conceive a litter of new babies while still being pregnant with another one--now that’s taking reproduction to a whole new level!
The Christian holiday of Easter is celebrated in the springtime, and with Easter celebrating always comes lots of bunnies. But where in the world did the idea of an egg-laying bunny come from? And what in the world does an egg-laying bunny have to do with the Christian beliefs about Easter?
The truth is, the idea of the Easter bunny probably started long before Christianity even came to Europe. The pagan people of 13th century Germany actually worshipped a goddess known as Eostra who was considered to be the goddess of fertility and springtime. The symbol representing Eostra was…yep, you guessed it, the rascally rabbit. Why? Well, you try and find a creature that can reproduce new young’uns at a faster pace than a good old baby making bunny rabbit. A springtime tradition was born! (and born…and born…)
When Christianity was taught in the European countries, it brought new meaning to the people and their very old traditions. The ancient symbols of spring and new life that they had previously used while worshipping pagan deities were now incorporated into Christianity and now came to represent and honor the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Eggs had also long been a symbol of springtime and fertility, but the first mention of an egg-laying rabbit came in a book that was published in the late 1600’s. The egg-laying rabbit was a folkloric notion that became immensely popular within the German culture during the 17th century. When the German immigrants came to the U.S. and then primarily settled in the Pennsylvania Dutch country, they of course brought with them the old customs and traditions from their German homeland. One of these unique customs was the legend of the Easter Bunny!
Early German tradition had children building special nests for the Easter Bunny to come and lay her eggs inside on Easter morning. Over time, these nests evolved into baskets and today on Easter Sunday, children all across America will be leaving an Easter Basket out for the Easter Bunny to fill with not only brightly colored eggs, but candy, goodies and small gifts as well.
Be sure and visit Halloween Express’ eggs-traordinary collection of Easter costumes and accessories. We have all the hoppy eggs-tras that you need to make your Easter something to dye for!