Happy Easter everyone! During the festivities, ceremonies and kids’ fun, have you ever wondered why a bunny and colorful eggs became associated with this deeply religious holiday? Although there does not seem to be a clear story of origin, there are a few interesting possibilities.
One theory is that the legend of the Easter bunny stems from paganism. There was a pagan festival, “Eostre” or “Ostera” for the goddess of fertility. This festival was held during the vernal equinox when the seasons change, and days become longer than the nights. This goddess was the goddess of fertility and her animal symbol was the hare.
Another theory stems from around the 1700s when Germans immigrated to Pennsylvania. There are notations in history and medical dissertations mentioning colorful eggs. These colorful eggs were hatched and hidden in nests made by children by the “Osterhase/Oschter Haws” or “Easter Hare”. Over time, this legend seemed to morph from hare to bunny and baskets became nests. Additional items, like chocolates and other candies, entered the basket fun as well.
Whatever the legend may be, we now celebrate this wonderful time with family, worship, egg dying and fun-filled Easter egg hunts!
On a more somber note, every year during Easter we see an increase in the number of abandoned, dyed bunnies purchased as temporary entertainment and high numbers of deceased dyed chicks. Dying animals is not healthy for the animal and these animals have much longer lifespans than Easter weekend. Please remember that chocolate bunnies and chicks are a safer and animal-friendly way to celebrate!
Sources include livescience.com and Time.com