Where Did the Easter Bunny Originate From

Where did the Easter bunny originate from? How did this cultural icon appear? With such a rich Christian heritage in the holiday of Easter, it is often not clear what relation a bunny could possibly have to the holiday, but we have some answers.

Eostre's Animal: While Easter is definitely a Christian holiday, the symbolic representation of the season in an Easter Bunny or hare appears to have its origins in the pre-Christian Saxon cultures of northern Europe. According to Baeda, also known as The Venerable Bede, a Catholic saint, historian and scholar, the Saxons devoted the month of April to Eostre, their goddess of spring and fertility. The sacred animal of the Saxon mother goddess Eostre was the hare.

Osterhase: The Easter Bunny made his way to the United States in the 1700s with the German immigrants who settled in the Pennsylvania Dutch country, bringing the tradition of Osterhase ("Easter Hare") to the new world. According to the tradition, the children would build bright-colored nests to hide in their homes. If the children had been good, the Osterhase would lay eggs in the nests. As this tradition spread, it evolved into Easter baskets and egg hunts.

Yummy Bunnies: It was also in Germany that the chocolate Easter bunny originates and was first seen during the 1800s. The representations of the Easter Bunnies in edible form are not limited to candy, either. The Osterhasen aus Hefeteig, or Easter Bunny Breakfast Rolls, are a popular item in a German Easter brunch and Easter table decorations.

Although the Easter Bunny originated as a German tradition of a hare bringing colored eggs to good children, it gradually began to include many more treats. The ancient traditions of the Saxons of Northern Europe and the fertility representations of the hare and eggs have evolved over the centuries to become the Easter Bunny and Easter eggs. The traditions of the German immigrants have spread through the United States and have now become central to the Easter celebration. Today Christians and non-Christians alike celebrate the season of rebirth and life, with our children eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Easter Bunny's baskets.

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