“So, what’s with the bunny on Easter?” I’ve often wondered that myself. Easter is a day that is celebrated the world round, but where did things like rabbits, candy, and colored eggs come from? In the weeks leading up to Easter, we’ll try to unpack some of the accretions and traditions surrounding the Easter holiday. Hopefully, we’ll be able to demystify some things and point to the real importance of Easter, as you get ready for this important day.
Origins of the Easter Bunny
We have our German ancestors to thank for introducing the bunny to modern Easter celebrations. It is somewhat like the Santa tradition of Christmastime. On the evening just before Easter, kids would put place handmade baskets or nests around the house. If they had been good, they Easter Bunny would leave colored eggs in the basket. The tradition probably began in early medieval time, and was brought to American by German immigrants.
But why the bunny?
The question still exists. Why a bunny? Part of the traditions surrounding Easter is connected to a Germanic fertility goddess by the name of Ostara, otherwise known as Eostre or Easter. One of the traditions connected with this goddess involved rabbits, probably because rabbits are prolific breeders. Thus, an egg-laying rabbit—eggs, and rabbits being two symbols of life and fertility—matched the ideas surrounding the pagan Easter. While the ancient pagans were celebrating the earth’s fertility after the dearth of winter, Christians appropriated this springtime ritual to celebrate Jesus who from the dead. It is important to note, of course, that Easter is not a pagan holiday. In future posts, we’ll explain why paganism and Christian traditions are sometimes intermixed at Easter time.
It is unfortunate that bunnies get more attention than the realities of Easter. Let us strive to focus on Jesus Christ—crucified and raised to life again. Please check out the Easter media collection to see how you can further emphasize the message in your Easter Sunday services.
Here is an Easter Christian Video that displays the power and grandeur of the resurrection.