Where Did the Easter Bunny Come From?

Gillian Ward, Reporter

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Easter is the holiday that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, but the way the holiday is widely celebrated today doesn’t quite reflect religious views. Christian churches do celebrate the victory of Jesus, but many people also celebrate Easter with the secular festivities of Easter egg hunting and the fantasy of the Easter Bunny.

But where did this colored-egg-laying bunny come from? Could it be because spring has sprung and animals are having lots of babies? After all, a bunny can birth up to 14 babies every month. Although the exact origins of all the traditions of Easter are unclear, we do know that rabbits are known to be speedy procreators and ancient symbols of new life and fertility.

Actually, the most accepted explanation for the traditions of Easter is that when German immigrants arrived in America with stories and traditions of an egg-laying rabbit, America ran with it. Although egg decorating dates back to the 13th century, traditions such as the consumption of Easter candies are a modern-made activity.

The mythical German hare that arrived by word of mouth to Pennsylvania in the 1700s is called “Osterhase”. Traditionally, children would build nests where the Osterhase could lay his colored eggs, but the after the tradition’s settlement in America, the gifts expanded to other goodies-candies and gifts. To be nice, children would also leave out carrots for Mr. Cottontail, in case he got hungry.

A perhaps more interesting idea of the traditions of Easter is one of the explanations of decorated eggs. Dating back to the 13th century, eggs were a forbidden food during the Lent period, so people would decorate and eat them to celebrate the end of fasting and penance.

More modern-day traditions include egg hunts and the White house egg roll which occurs the Monday after Easter. The most popular Easter candies are jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, and marshmallow peeps. Easter wins second-place for the biggest candy selling holiday of the year.

Like most holidays and traditions, Easter started as a spiritual/religious celebration and with secular tag-a-longs throughout the years, it has become what it is today.

 

source: https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/easter-symbols

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