While Easter is one of the most important holidays on the Christian calendar, children (and children at heart) around the world know it more for one thing: the Easter Bunny! Known for leaving chocolates and sweets for little ones, online surveys show that the Easter Bunny is one of the most recognisable characters on the planet. But where does this joyful rabbit get his story? What are the origins of the Easter Bunny?
Bunnies in the Bible
Easter is meant to mark the resurrection of Jesus after the crucifixion, a story that is detailed at length in the Christian Bible. That said, there is no mention of a chocolate egg, a generous rabbit or any baby chicks anywhere in religious scripture. So, what is going on here?
It must be said that the bunny’s exact origins are unknown. Some people believe that the rabbit is an ancient pagan symbol for fertility. This makes a lot of sense, particularly when you learn about the festival of Eostre. Eostre was a pagan goddess of fertility, and her animal companion? You guessed it – a hare. Rabbits and hares are both known for their enthusiastic and abundant breeding – they are used as a symbol of fertility all around the world!
Enter the Egg
Easter wouldn’t be Easter without chocolate eggs, preferably hidden around the garden or the house by the Easter Bunny himself. Many people also delight in decorating eggs with designs, patterns and pastel colours. It doesn’t take much sleuthing to realise that eggs represent new life for many cultures, as they are a literal symbol of fertility.
As far back as the 13th century, many churches in Europe advised their followers to abstain from eating eggs throughout Lent. They were then allowed to consume them on Easter, prompting their association with the holiday. Over the course of Lent, many eager egg lovers took to decorating their eggs. By the 19th century, many members of Russian and Ukrainian high society began to demand more luxurious versions bedecked in jewels, and Fabergé eggs were born.
People all around the world still love to decorate eggs, and many egg decorating kits are available at Boots, Sainsbury’s and other high street shops. If you want to earn your decorating kit for free, why not hop online and start filling out paid surveys? With Valued Opinions surveys, you can earn valuable vouchers towards anything your heart desires – including Creme Eggs and stuffed bunnies for Easter!
A New Tradition Hatches
Now that we have the bunny and the eggs, how were the two combined to create the modern Easter Bunny character and mythos? Many believe that the story spread around the world with German immigrants in the 18th century. They spread their beloved tale of a hare who laid eggs, called the “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws.” Little German children would even make nests for the creature to lay its eggs! This has morphed and changed into the modern day tradition that so many know and love today.