Monday, March 25, 2013

Hare'd He Get Here? The Easter Bunny and Jesus

Bunnies, Eggs, and Jesus

Ever wonder what a bunny has to do with Jesus or chicken eggs on Easter?  Nothing, really!   Way back in history, the hare was a symbol of fertility in pre-Christian cultures.  As Christianity spread through Europe, pagan symbols were often incorporated into feasts and holidays.  So that is likely how the hare and Jesus became intertwined.

Eggs were also considered symbols of fertility. And at some point in history, they were also forbidden during the 40 days of Lent. So they became somewhat of a treat. People began boiling and coloring them as well.  Then much later in history, in 1680, a story was written about a bunny laying eggs in gardens. Why they were chicken eggs is not known, but it’s better than leaving a bunch of baby bunnies. And why the Easter Bunny is generally depicted as a male is also not known.

Germans settling into Pennsylvania Dutch areas of the United States during the eighteenth century brought these ancient legends and practices with them.  “Good” boys and girls would make hidden nests with their caps, bonnets, or twigs in a garden or barn in hopes that the Easter Bunny would deliver colored eggs during the night. Nests eventually became baskets. People started making pastry and sugar confections. And as we know, brightly colored Easter baskets loaded with candy became a large part of Easter celebration – as well as wearing your Easter finery and going to church!

At Fundamentally Toys, a big hare visits our store every year on the Saturday before Easter. He doesn’t bring colored chicken eggs, which is just as well.  The kids prefer candy these days. And besides, you can only eat so many hard-boiled eggs. The Easter Bunny's visit never fails to delight both kids and adults and we love hosting "Breakfast with the Bunny" every year!

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