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Easter Bunny Origins

Where did the easter bunny originate from?

easter bunny cloured in by SarahThe easter bunny is a strange little tradition. A rabbit that hides painted eggs in the garden for children to find is either daft, surreal or downright spooky when you think about it.

So where did the little chap come from and how has he (is the easter bunny even male?) or she, get involved in easter?

Well firstly we have to go back in time and see when the easter bunny first appeared.

The written record only takes us as far back as the 1600s in the Alsace region of Europe (modern day France close to border with Germany).

It seems unlikely that the easter bunny was an invention of the 1600s because europeans at the time were turning against anything that smacked of superstition and idolatry. Therefore many people argue that the easter bunny is actually far older and is the remenant of pre-christian pagan practices.

Firstly a point about the name. In most of europe the Easter Bunny is refered to as the 'Easter Hare' to this day. When the German and Dutch immigrants to America took the tradition with them his species was changed from Hare to Rabbit and that is how he became the Easter Bunny.

Spring is a time of new birth and both hares and eggs are fairly obvious symbols of new life. Hares, because Spring is about the only time when they are seen by people, the young males fighting in the short grass is a common sight and led to the phrase 'mad as a march hare'. Eggs are even more obvious symbols of new life, because that is what they actually contain (unless we boil them for breakfast of course).

So old traditional associations between spring, hares and eggs don't get forgotten with the coming of christianity. In much the same way that Christian churches were often built on the sites of former Pagan temples, it seems that Christian festivals were overlaid upon older celebrations. Elements that didn't harm the Christian message (or were particularly popular with the people) were integrated into the new religion. Perhaps the origins of the Easter Bunny are many thousands of years old. Yet each year, the (mostly chocolate) eggs he brings us are fresh and delicious.

Happy Easter


Easter bunny pictures for young children to color in.

Cut out and wear your own Bunny Mask 

 

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