Easter eggs, cute, yellow baby chicks and colorful gardening hats are some of the most well-known symbols you generally see during Spring and Easter. While each of these symbols are popular, only one stands out further…the Easter Bunny. There is no mention of the Easter Bunny in the Bible and a rabbit is not a Christian symbol. So, how did the rabbit become the most well-known mascot of the Easter holiday? Keep reading to find out.
In the 13th-century, the rabbit was considered to be a symbol of fertility. The rabbit is also known for having many babies, leading to modern talk about couples with several kids “reproducing like rabbits.” As the rabbit reproduces so often, it was thought to have special powers, helping people to reproduce. In fact, the “lucky rabbit’s foot” goes back to this ancient tradition.
While 13th century humans thought the Easter Bunny held reproductive power, the very first Easter Bunny legend was officially documented during the 1500s. By the year 1680, the original story of a rabbit who laid eggs and hid them around a garden found its way to print. These legends were brought to the United States in the 1700s by German immigrants.
As American-Germans settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country, they brought along their tradition of the Easter Bunny, only the Germans called him Osterhase or Oschter Haws. He was a fantastic rabbit who would arrive during Easter and lay brightly colored Easter eggs for all the good children who made special nests in their own caps and bonnets on the eve of Easter.
As the years passed, the tradition grew and Osterhase (or the Easter Bunny) began bringing little girls and boys much more than Easter eggs. The Easter bunny began handing out chocolate, candy, pretty trinkets and even money. Instead of children making nests in a cap or bonnet, they began to leave a brightly decorated Easter basket for their favorite bunny.
Although the idea of the Easter Bunny was first introduced to Americans by German immigrants, the practice soon caught on throughout the country. Christians and non-Christians alike generally look forward to the time of Easter, as it is known for celebrating life and the love of family. For many children and adults alike, the Easter Bunny, an ancient symbol of fertility, is one of the most central figures of the holiday.
Do you look forward to the Easter Bunny visiting your home this year? Do you have any egg decorating tips for Easter baskets? Share your tips below!