Easter Bunny evolved from a number of traditions, some dating
back thousands of years.
earliest humans noticed the link between the cycles of women
that were linked with the birth of children and the cycles
of the moon. In the oldest records from civilizations in Asia,
the hare was the symbol of the moon.
So it followed that the moon and the rabbit both became the
symbol of rebirth or life after death. Today, Easter is celebrated
around the time of the Paschal
Full Moon in Spring.
Egypt, the rabbit was also recognized as a symbol of fertility
and renewal. This belief spread to the Greeks and then to
the Romans who shared it with the rest of Europe.
the Celts and other early European groups celebrated the festival
of Eastre, a goddess of the dawn associated with springtime.
Her symbol was the rabbit, the most fertile animal and a symbol
of new life. Many people think that the modern feast of Easter
developed from springtime feasts to honor Eastre.
The Medieval Easter Bunny
the Middle Ages, the rabbit also became associated with
chicken eggs, since both were symbols of fertility and rebirth
in the spring. The Easter Bunny as a holiday symbol delivering
candy and eggs is thought to have started around that time
is also where the first edible Easter bunnies were made during
the early 1800s, when baked pastry bunnies first appeared.
Together with gummy candies shaped like eggs, (which is where
jelly beans came from), the treats were placed in straw nests in
secluded areas of the house or in the garden for children
changed over time and eventually the Easter Bunny began to
deposit eggs - in children's shoes. It may well have been the
world's first scavenger
Easter Bunny Comes to America
Young Hare, 1502 by German artist Albrecht Dürer
people came to the United States, they brought their customs
with them and soon everyone was waiting for the Easter Bunny
to arrive with colored
eggs, chocolate bunnies and jelly beans!
shoes were not big enough to hold all of the goodies, so Easter
baskets became the popular place to hide holiday treats.
Australian Easter Bilby
Elsewhere, when Europeans began to settle in Australia, they found that there were no rabbits, so they brought rabbits with them.
Since rabbits are the symbol of fertility, they did their rabbit duty and produced a lot of new rabbits. Eventually, there were so many rabbits that they became a problem.
Bilby, the Easter Bunny's cousin from Australia.
this pesky rodent as a symbol for Easter celebrations
just was not a good idea, so a new symbol was born. The bilby
is an endangered animal in Australia. It looks almost like
a rabbit...and then it was decided. The Easter Bunny would
retire and the Easter
Bilby took the job.
if you travel to Australia you'll find plenty of chocolate
Easter Bilby candy and Easter Bilby cards!