The Easter Bunny (or Easter Hare) is a character depicted as an anthropomorphic rabbit. In old stories, the creature brings baskets filled with colored eggs, candy and toys to the homes of children on the night before Easter. The Easter Bunny will either put the baskets in a certain place or hide them somewhere in the house for the children to find when they wake up in the morning.
One theory of the Easter Bunny's origins is that it stemmed from early pagan celebrations around the vernal equinox. Pagans celebrated the springtime renewal of life as well as the goddess of dawn and fertility, Eostre, who was often represented by the hare or an egg. As Christianity spread throughout Europe, the celebrations around the vernal equinox may have merged with the observance of Christ's resurrection, since they both occurred around the same time. Missionaries were said to blend pagan traditions with Christian holidays to make the transition smoother, so it is possible that the celebrations of Eostre and the resurrection of Christ became one.
The first Easter Bunny legend was documented in the 1500s. Around 1680, the first story about a rabbit laying eggs and hiding them in a garden was published. These legends were brought to the United States in the 1700s, when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country, according to the Center for Children's Literature and Culture.
The tradition of making nests for the rabbit to lay its eggs in soon followed. Eventually, nests became decorated baskets and colorful eggs were swapped for candy, treats and other small gifts.
References[change | change source]
- Cavoto, Erin (2021-02-16). "Here's the History Behind the Easter Bunny". Country Living. Retrieved 2021-10-22.
- "What Does the Easter Bunny Have To Do With Easter?". Seeker. Retrieved 2021-10-22.