How come a rabbit lays eggs? Are there rabbit eggs? Kids love to ask these questions, but have you ever wondered how did a rabbit become the symbol of Easter? After all, chicken are those who lay the eggs, shouldn’t they have the leading role in this special holiday? Of course, there is a reason why bunnies have come to symbolize Easter and it dates back to the ancient times.
The Story of the Easter Bunny
You will not find a story in the Bible about a cute, fluffy, long-eared creature known as the Easter Bunny. There is no story about children painting eggs or hunting chocolate goodies either. However, bunnies and Easter go together.
Since ancient times rabbits and eggs are symbols of fertility which is directly connected to the Spring season and rebirth of Nature. So even though rabbits don’t lay eggs, the association and symbolism remain. The resurrection of Jesus is also tied to the concept of rebirth.
The Easter hare appears for the first time in German writings from the 17th century. Since the pre-Christian era, the rabbit has been the symbol of the pagan goddess of spring and fertility. This is no surprise as rabbits breed several times a year and start at a very young age. This pagan symbol merged with Christian tradition. In its modern version, we have the Christian holiday of Easter, marking the resurrection of Jesus, and a pagan symbol that celebrates rebirth. According to the old folk tale, the rabbit will lay colourful eggs for the good children.
Modern Easter Traditions
Later, in the 18th century, this tradition was brought to the United States by European immigrants. Over time it evolved and included different traditions like egg hunts, exchanging gifts and chocolates and so on. Making nests for the rabbit to lay the eggs soon followed and became part of the holiday. Eventually, these became decorated baskets and the eggs are often swapped for candy.
In conclusion, Easter as we know it is a result of the merging of two traditions – pagan and Christian. It is a religious holiday to some, a family gathering for others, but two things are always present – the bunny and the eggs. Now you know where the original Easter bunny came from and how it got involved in the celebrations.