While ravenously biting off the head of a chocolate bunny this past Sunday, you probably found yourself asking, “Just why is this adorable, delicious bunny an Easter icon?” Hopefully this article will answer all of your “hare-raising” questions.
Despite what the Epic Rap Battles of History guys might have you believe, the Easter Bunny is not “just a fluffy b**** mascot for Hallmark in denial.” The iconic Easter Bunny was actually created in Germany around the 16th century and is associated with pagan ideology.
Many pagans worshiped a deity named Eostre, who was known as the goddess of spring and fertility. (The word “Easter” is based on her name.) Celebrations for the goddess were often held on the vernal equinox, which indicates the beginning of spring season. The rabbit, also known for its fertility, was the symbol of Eostre. The fertility stamp was placed on rabbits because they can conceive while pregnant.
Legend claims that one spring, the goddess Eostre failed to deliver the season on time. As an apology, Eostre saved a bird whose wings was frozen in the snow. Eostre transformed this bird into a snow hare, and gave it the ability to lay eggs of all colors. However, the bunny could only lay eggs once a year, on the vernal equinox.
Throughout the years, this bunny hopped from the vernal equinox to Easter. Christian missionaries took the idea of an Easter Bunny from pagans and incorporated it into Easter, which typically falls within a few weeks of the vernal equinox. Ever since then, cute stuffed animals and delicious candies fill stores this time of the year.
The Easter Bunny is not featured all over the globe however. In Australia, there is a large push to replace the Easter Bunny with the “Easter Bilby,” a rabbit sized marsupial best described as half adorable, half terrifying. When rabbits were first introduced into Australia in the 1800s, they caused a large amount of damage to crops, and ever since have been seen as pests. Bilbies, on the other hand, have a much better reputation in Australia, thus explaining the recent attempt to overthrow the Easter Bunny.
In other countries, such as the Netherlands, the Easter Bunny burrows itself out of sight. Instead, the Dutch prefer to celebrate Easter by lighting bonfires. In some places, there are even competitions for the largest bonfire, with some fires reaching as high as 85 feet on Easter.
So next Easter, or next time you find yourself in the Netherlands or Australia, be sure to brag to all of your friends about your Easter Bunny knowledge. You are guaranteed to be seen as a hare above the rest.