ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Where Did the Easter Bunny Come From?

Updated on March 13, 2015
The Easter Bunny has evolved through several different versions throughout history.
The Easter Bunny has evolved through several different versions throughout history. | Source

The Easter Bunny may be second only to Santa Claus in terms of famous holiday icons. You may wonder, however, how the well-known rabbit became associated with Easter in the first place. The fact is, this association began only relatively recently.

Eostre and the Rabbit

The Easter holiday itself actually finds its roots in a collection of the spring festivals celebrated by many different ancient pagan cultures. One such festival honored the Germanic fertility goddess Eostre. The rabbit, also a common symbol of fertility, was often associated with Eostre. According to legend, however, the rabbit was banished from heaven when he angered Eostre. Taking pity on him, she gave the rabbit the ability to lay eggs once each year as a continuing symbol of fertility.

Eostre was the ancient Germanic goddess of spring; her festival was an earlier precursor to today's Easter holiday.
Eostre was the ancient Germanic goddess of spring; her festival was an earlier precursor to today's Easter holiday. | Source

The Expansion of Christianity

As Christianity became more widespread around the world, many cultures adapted their own traditions to their new understanding of Christian teaching. The spring fertility festival for Eostre, then, gradually became Easter, a spring holiday to celebrate Jesus' resurrection from the grave. The association of the holiday with the Easter Bunny, who gives children eggs and other gifts to celebrate Easter, is a distant reference to Eostre's old sidekick.

The modern Easter Bunny is a distant reference to Eostre's old rabbit sidekick.
The modern Easter Bunny is a distant reference to Eostre's old rabbit sidekick. | Source

The Easter Bunny Today

The modern version of the Easter Bunny seems to have developed around the 16th century in Germany, where sweet pastries shaped like a rabbit became a common Easter treat. Children were told that if they were good, the rabbit Oschter Haws would leave them gifts of bright colored eggs. Therefore, the children would build nests in or around their home in which Oschter Haws could leave the eggs.

Gradually, this tradition of the nests developed into the modern use of elaborately decorated Easter baskets. Immigrants to the United States from this region, many of whom became the Pennsylvania Dutch, brought their Easter Bunny traditions to America with them, leading to the development of the Easter Bunny children around the world know and love today.

How old were you when you learned the Easter Bunny was make believe?

See results
The Easter Bunny today is available in countless forms each spring.
The Easter Bunny today is available in countless forms each spring. | Source

References

Bunny Hollow: "The Easter Bunny"

Shine: "The Easter Bunny Explained"

ScrippsNews: "Spring Bunny vs. Easter Rabbit"

Holidays.net: "The Easter Bunny"

Do you tell your kids the Easter Bunny is real? Why or why not?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Robie Benve profile image

      Robie Benve 

      3 years ago from Ohio

      Very interesting, thanks for sharing the origin of the Easter bunny, I had no idea.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)