Easter bunny

Easter bunny

Easter is a celebration of spring and new life. Eggs and flowers are rather obvious symbols of female fertility, but in European traditions, the bunny, with its amazing reproductive potential, is not far behind.

In European traditions, the Easter bunny is known as the Easter hare. The symbolism of the hare has had many tantalizing ritual and religious roles down through the years.

Hares were given ritual burials alongside humans during the Neolithic age in Europe. Archaeologists have interpreted this as a religious ritual, with hares representing rebirth.

Over a thousand years later, during the Iron Age, ritual burials for hares were common, and in 51 B.C.E., Julius Caesar mentioned that in Britain, hares were not eaten due to their religious significance.

As Christians probably already know, the Bible makes no mention of a mythical hare who delivers eggs to children on the day of Jesus Christ’s resurrection so it may be a head-scratcher why exactly a rabbit became a prominent part of one of Christianity’s most important celebrations of rebirth and renewal. One theory, according to Time, is that the symbol of the rabbit stems from the ancient pagan tradition on which many of our Easter traditions are based — the festival of Eostre, which honored the goddess of fertility and spring. The goddess’s animal symbol was a rabbit, which have long traditionally stood for fertility due to their high reproduction rates.

As for how the character of the Easter Bunny made its way to America. It was first introduced in the 1700s by German immigrants to Pennsylvania, who reportedly brought over their tradition of an egg-laying hare named “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws” from the Old Country. Legend has it, the rabbit would lay colorful eggs as gifts to children who were good, so kids would make nests in which the bunny could leave his eggs and even sometimes set out carrots in case the hare got hungry. Remind you of any other holiday traditions? Eventually, the custom spread across America until it was a widespread Easter tradition. Over time, the fabled bunny’s delivery expanded from just eggs to include other treats such as chocolate and toys. Easter baskets have only gotten more and more elaborate over the years, as one trip to the store this year will tell you.

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Easter bunny 2.

Easter bunny 2

The universe

The Universe