The Easter Bunny has become a main symbol of the Easter holiday in the United States and many other Western countries
Where did it come from?
The hare or rabbit is strongly represented in world mythology and from ancient times has had divine associations Its elusiveness and unusual behavior particularly at night has reinforced its reputation as a magical creature The hare was believed to have mystical links to the female cycle and to the moon which governed it Eggs like rabbits and hares are fertility symbols of antiquity Since birds lay eggs and rabbits and hares give birth to large litters in the early spring These became symbols of the rising fertility of the earth at the time of the vernal equinox or the later Easter holiday tradition Also in ancient times it was believed that the hare can reproduce without the loss of virginity
It was this belief that led the hare to be associated with the Virgin Mary of the Christian religion Who gave birth to Jesus as a virgin.
in medieval times
Hares were a popular motif in church art They appeared in illuminated manuscripts and northern European paintings of the Virgin and Christ child The first known reference of an Easter rabbit bringing eggs to children was from german professor george frank von Franken, and his book titled about Easter eggs written in 1682 referencing the local tradition in Germany .
German Protestants also continued an old Orthodox Christian tradition of eating colored eggs for the holiday Orthodox Christians Easter fast for Lent then eat boiled or roasted eggs to break the fast
However the German Protestants did not continue the tradition of fasting and just ate the eggs for celebration of the holiday German immigrants to the United States in the 18th century brought the idea of an egg giving Easter hare Protestant Germans in the Pennsylvania Dutch area told their children about the Oosterhouse or Easter Bunny in English According to the legend only good children receive gifts of colored eggs in the nests that they made in their caps and bonnets
before Easter This tradition eventually grew to other areas of the United States And its popularity spread to other Western countries in the years and centuries that followed