Easter Bunny

My series on the “Journey to Easter…Symbols and Traditions” continues.

As symbols go the Easter Bunny is a relatively new symbol of Easter.  The origins appear to be taken from the German folk beliefs that an Easter Hare, a shy creature lays eggs in spots in the garden.  This gives rise to the practice of creating “nests” in sheltered spots in the garden for the hare to leave his eggs.  Some believe that on Maundy Thursday, the Easter Hare lays only red eggs, and on the night before Easter he lays eggs of various colors.

These legends gave rise to the creation of hare shaped treats made of pastry and sugar.  The 1890s in America saw sweet shops featuring easter candy in the shape of rabbits.  As the tradition became Americanized, the Easter bunny or rabbit brings eggs rather than lays them .  This makes sense since rabbits (and hares) are mammals and do not lay eggs.  Some traditions continue the practice of creating nests which are filled with eggs and candy on Easter morning. Others hide the eggs and candy randomly throughout the garden.

Children were allowed to use their Easter basket to hunt the eggs and treats. Modern Easter egg hunts often feature plastic eggs filled with candies rather than decorated real eggs.

Plastic Easter Eggs

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