What is the Origin of the Easter Bunny?

Ever year we celebrate Easter, and every year we fill our kids baskets with tiny trinkets, chocolate bunnies, little marshmallow chickens, and plastic Easter eggs. What on Earth do those things have to do with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ? Is it because it's the birth of spring time and that's what's abundant around that time? Is there any significance at all to this creature and it's association with Easter? What is the origin of the Easter bunny?

Many people are unaware of the fact that Easter is a celebration by both Christians and Pagans alike. Just as the pagans added symbolism to Christmas, with the tree, they also have their own take on the Easter holiday. The origin of the Easter bunny came long before the birth of Christ. Tradition has it, that Eostre, the goddess of spring was accompanied by a hare.

During spring time, many animals birth new offspring, and rabbits are the most fertile animals known. A hare is much like a rabbit, only it is larger in size and a lot more rare. Since spring is a celebration of rebirth and new life, pagan families used to tell their children that a magic hare would come deliver them gifts on this special day. Much like Santa Claus, the "magic hare" would deliver secret gifts, only these were gifts symbolic of new life, like hand painted eggs. This is the origin of the Easter bunny.

In Germany children would put nests of grass in their yard, believing that the Easter bunny would drop off colorful eggs and candy in their "baskets." The origin of the Easter bunny in America began as German settlers moved here and brought their traditions with them.

Easter was as much awaited for as Christmas, children would use their hats or bonnets to make nice nests for the Easter bunny, and they believed that if they were good children, then the Easter bunny would drop off colorful eggs in their baskets, thus spawning the tradition of coloring Easter eggs. The more colorful and vibrant the eggs, the better off you were!

What's Changed?

It wasn't until later that the holiday transformed and tradition changed to where children receive Easter baskets from the Easter bunny and hunt for eggs. Traditions evolve, much like old Santa Claus and hanging socks on the fire place, now it's much more commercialized and families hang nice handcrafted stockings that match a perfectly designed Christmas tree. The origin of the Easter bunny dates back to before the time of Christ, and though celebrates an entirely different aspect of the holiday, still adds to the color and excitement of the springtime.