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The Origin of the Easter Bunny & Colored Easter Eggs

Just as Santa Claus represents Christmas, a hopping life-size bunny with a basket full of colorful eggs is the quintessential image of Easter.

The original Easter bunny was probably associated with the Pagan equinox festival that predated Easter. The Saxons devoted the month of April to celebrating their goddess of spring and fertility, who was, not coincidentally, named Eastre. Eastre's sacred animal was the hare - not surprising since the rabbit is one of the most common symbols of fertility and rebirth.

The colored eggs carried by today's Easter bunnies have another, even more ancient origin. Eggs have long been associated with fertility and springtime festivals - for so long, in fact, that the precise roots of the association are unknown. Ancient Romans and Greeks utilized eggs in festivals celebrating resurrected gods. The egg also featured prominently in the Jewish rituals of Passover - and still today the roasted egg has prominence on the seder table as an essential symbol of springtime and rebirth.

Scholars believe that the pairing of the hare and the egg together in Easter may also have Pagan roots. During springtime, when days and nights were equal length, the hare was identified with the moon goddess and the egg with the sun god. Pairing the two together offered a kind of ying and yang to spring equinox celebrations.

The next historical entry under Bunny & Egg is found fifteen hundred years later in Germany. There, children would eagerly await the arrival of the Oschter Haws, a rabbit who delighted children on Easter morning by laying colored eggs in nests. This was also the first known time that the rabbit and egg were iconoclastically linked together.

The German tradition of the Oschter Haws migrated to America in the 1800s, likely accompanying German immigrants, many of whom settled in Pennsylvania. Over the past 200 years, the Oschter Haws or Easter Bunny has become the most commercially recognized symbol of Easter.

Today American children squeal with delight when they see the bunny-whether he's headlining their neighborhood Easter egg hunt or greeting visitors at the local mall. The Easter bunny and his ubiquitous basket of eggs has surely become the most adored and recognized symbol of the Easter season.

Related Articles:
Easter Eggs
The Easter Bunny
Easter Peeps: Marshmallowy Goodness
Make Your Own Easter Baskets
Hosting the Perfect Easter Egg Hunt
The Easter Lily

Add Comment
dee from France
12:17 11/08/2011
Bonai verre saire Gor nache
sheree from Australia
04:25 08/05/2011
Hey you guys need to make copy and paste symbols like a easter egg!
Menna Davies from Europe
12:54 06/30/2011
Please can I have your email i want to email you. xxx
briggitte from Florida, US
09:41 04/21/2011
Gabby Blanchard from Montana, US
15:11 04/20/2011
Wow! This doesn't have much info but it helped! Please add more info! 8D
yes from Alaska, US
07:32 04/10/2011
as a german, i can assure you there's no such thing as an "oschter haws"! ridiculous. it's called "osterhase"!
Helen from Hawaii, US
14:36 04/09/2011
I do understand that the Easter bunny is real but I don't understand why we colour the eggs and why we have Easter baskets.... Once I was in the bathroom and I pooped then the Easter bunny came so I ran and washed my hands and ran to the Easter bunny.... Ahhhh good times.....good times......
George from California, US
12:01 04/09/2011
Very nice I like
ivy from Connecticut, US
12:42 04/05/2011
why do you not have any thing why the eggs are colored
lisa/sharp from Australia
03:21 04/01/2011
can i ples have a easter hand ples easter bunny lisasharp and alexa sharp

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