Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The connection between Jesus and the Easter Bunny

See's Candies Surprise Basket
Easter is the most important and oldest festival of the Christian Church, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ and held between March 21 and April 25, on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the northern spring equinox.

See's Candies recently sent me some darling Easter treats for my son that got me to thinking...  There's no story in the Bible about a long-eared, cotton-tailed creature known as the Easter Bunny. Nor is there a passage about children painting eggs or hunting for baskets overflowing with scrumptious Easter goodies. And real rabbits certainly don't lay eggs. So, how did these iconic symbols of Easter come into being??

Apparently, bunnies, eggs, Easter gifts and fluffy, yellow chicks in gardening hats all stem from our pagan roots. Specifically to the 13th-century, pre-Christian Germany, when people worshiped several gods and goddesses.  An article I discovered at Discovery News explains that the Teutonic deity Eostra was the goddess of spring and fertility, and feasts were held in her honor on the Vernal Equinox. Her symbol was the rabbit because of the animal’s high reproduction rate. Spring also symbolized new life and rebirth; eggs were an ancient symbol of fertility.

My son (left) and a pal compare treats at the Dallas Arboretum's Easter Egg Hunt in 2004

See's Candies Easter Treasure Egg
The first Easter Bunny legend was documented in the 1500s. By 1680, the first story about a rabbit laying eggs and hiding them in a garden was published. These legends were brought to the United States in the 1700s, when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country.

The tradition of making nests for the rabbit to lay its eggs in soon followed. Eventually, nests became decorated baskets and colorful eggs were swapped for candy, treats and other small gifts.

So, what is the connection between Jesus and the Easter Bunny? In short, there isn't one. But, these two concepts have been inexplicably paired together in sweet harmony over the decades and I don't foresee anything tearing them apart anytime soon.

And since I am a big believer in tradition, I encourage you to stop by See's Candies at NorthPark Center or visit them online to check out their delicious array of Easter treats for your kiddos. Happy Easter!!

source: Discovery News