The Easter Bunny is one of the strangest creatures in holiday lore. He — or she — hides colored eggs, stuffs baskets with candy and then, one presumes, hops away to wait for a year. Unlike Santa Claus, the most famous holiday figure, little is known about this mysterious Easter Bunny. Where does he live? Where does he get all the candy? And most importantly, why does he have so many eggs?
The Truth About the Easter Bunny
According to the “South Park” theory, the Easter Bunny’s secret is guarded by the Hare Club for Men. After much adventure, it’s revealed that Jesus intended for the Easter Bunny to serve as Pope. Stan learns, at the end of it all, that he should have merely colored the eggs and kept his mouth shut about all of it.
The real truth about the Easter Bunny is almost as complex as the 2007 “South Park” episode — but not quite as nonsensical.
Who is the Easter Bunny?
Rabbits do not lay eggs. Like all mammals, rabbits reproduce through live birth. So how did this egg-toting bunny rabbit come to be an integral part of a religious holiday that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus?
The beginnings of the Easter Bunny can be traced all the way to 13th century Germany. People celebrated the fertility goddess Eostra during this time, and held a festival for her at the Vernal Equinox. Her festival helped to form the foundation of modern-day Easter celebrations.The rabbit was used as her symbol to represent fertility at these festivals. And because eggs are also a symbol of fertility, the rabbit and egg were both used as part of this celebration. The egg became linked with the rabbit, and the two became well-known symbols of spring and Eostra.
It was a link that stayed through the years. The first known literature about the Easter Bunny dates back to the 16th century. By 1680, there were stories about rabbits laying eggs and hiding them in the garden. The legend spread to the United States by the 1700s, arriving along with the German immigrants who settled in the Pennsylvania area. Over time, the legend became a figurehead for the holiday.
The Easter Bunny seems like a strange symbol for the holiday, but it’s a tradition with very deep roots in history. So while we still don’t know where the Easter Bunny lives or why he likes chocolate, we do know that he’s been around for a long, long time.