Easter is with us this weekend, and many countries around the world look forward to public holidays, hot cross buns, and chocolate eggs and rabbits. A central figure of these celebrations is the Easter Bunny – a charming, friendly rabbit who brings chocolate eggs to children on Easter. Like Santa Clause to Christmas, the Easter Bunny has become an important image of gift-giving on this holiday.
Let’s take a closer look at the development of this folklore figure.
The Easter Bunny originally comes from Germany, where he was known as “Oschter Haws” or the Easter Hare and can be traced back to at least 1572 (History). The Easter Hare decided if children had been well behaved or not, and rewarded the ‘good’ children with coloured eggs, which he laid in the garden. Children had to go out and hunt for them – an early version of the Easter egg hunt!
Like the Easter Egg, The Easter Hare came from early pagan traditions which associated rabbits with fertility and Spring. The pagan festival of Eostre honored the goddess of fertility and spring, and the goddess’s animal symbol was a rabbit.
The Easter Bunny Today
The Easter Hare spread across to the US from European immigrants as early as the 1700s. The Easter Bunny remained largest unchanged, he is still visiting homes to reward good children for their behaviour. As trends moved away from giving dyed, colorful eggs to gifting chocolate eggs (which we describe in an earlier Alpes d’Or blog!) the Easter Bunny began to gift these and would hide them around the house and the garden for children to find.
Nowadays it is also very common to gift chocolate bunnies as well as chocolate eggs! Chocolate can easily be moulded and you can find all manner of intricate chocolate Easter Bunnies!
We at Alpes d’Or would like to wish everyone who celebrates a happy, restful and chocolate-filled Easter!