What Does the Easter Bunny Have To Do With Easter?





There's no story in the Bible about a long-eared, cotton-tailed creature known as the Easter Bunny. Neither is there a passage about young children painting eggs or hunting for baskets overflowing with scrumptious Easter goodies.

According to University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture, the origin of the celebration -- and the Easter bunny -- can be traced back to 13th century, pre-Christian Germany, when people worshiped several gods and goddesses. The Teutonic deity Eostra was the goddess of spring and fertility, and feasts were held in her honor on the Vernal Equinox. Her symbol was the rabbit because of the animal’s high reproduction rate.

Spring also symbolized new life and rebirth; eggs were an ancient symbol of fertility. According to History.com, Easter eggs represent Jesus' resurrection. However, this association came much later when Roman Catholicism became the dominant religion in Germany in the 15th century and merged with already ingrained pagan beliefs.

The first Easter bunny legend was documented in the 1500s. By 1680, the first story about a rabbit laying eggs and hiding them in a garden was published. These legends were brought to the United States in the 1700s when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country, according to the Center for Children's Literature and Culture.



comments powered by Disqus

More Comments:


Jeremy Dupertuis Bangs - 4/7/2010

Three cheers for the inter-departmental cooperation of the Center for Children's Literature (and Culture yet) and the history department at the University of Florida!

History News Network