As a young child you never really question where things come from. Now, being a “little” bit older I find myself more curious about things. So I decided to find out where exactly did the beloved Easter Bunny comes from. If I think about it now, it really is a curious tradition, as after all bunnies don’t lay eggs! Below is my interpretation of my findings:
The goddess Ostara, the bringer of light and life, the goddess of springtime, was celebrated by pagans. This name and other variations of the name is where we get the title of Easter. It is said that Ostara liked to entertain children by turning a bird into a bunny. This bunny would then give the children a egg as a gift.
The characteristics of the Easter Bunny and traditions we relate to today, started its journey in Germany. German Lutherans (Christians who follow the theology of the German monk Martin Luther) had the Easter Bunny play a springtime “Santa Claus” rewarding children with good behavior. Much in the same way as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny would deliver gifts the night before the said holiday.
In the 1700’s, German settlers arrived in the Pennsylvania Dutch area they brought along their “Osterhase” (Easter Bunny). Children were encouraged to make nest in anticipation of the Easter Bunny. Nest would be made out of caps or bonnets which is where the inspiration for the tradition of wearing an Easter hat/bonnet for the holiday came from. Today we swap these nests for baskets.
So remember to be good this spring and see if the Easter Bunny visits you and leaves you a gift.