The Easter Bunny and His (?) Eggs

In honor of the day, I did a little research and found some interesting “facts” (using the term very loosely) concerning the celebration of Easter with a rabbit and colored eggs. Whether you celebrate Easter as a religious holiday, or just with the tradition of the Easter Bunny, have a wonderful day and God Bless.

Where Did The “Easter Bunny” Originate?

As for rabbits laying eggs, several explanations have been proposed.
In English, the etymology of the word "Easter" comes from an ancient pagan goddess of the spring named Eostre, related to German Ostara. This is probably one of the most beautiful explanations I’ve read on how a rabbit lays eggs. According to popular folklore, Eostre once saved a bird whose wings had frozen during the winter by turning it into a rabbit. Because the rabbit had once been a bird, it could still lay eggs, and that rabbit became the modern Easter Bunny.(1)
Now obviously, we all know neither hares nor rabbits lay eggs, but hares bring up their young in 'forms'. These forms are hollows in the ground, usually located in fields and meadows. Plovers, a type of bird, have been known to take over a form as a nest in which to lay their eggs. One legend relates that a woman saw a hare leaving a form and upon investigation, she found a 'nest of eggs', which she consequently believed to have been 'laid' by the hare.

David Beaulieu, who wrote an article for regarding “Easter Origins: Easter Rabbit, Easter Egg says:
“Thus in our modern Easter lore, although the Easter Rabbit is sometimes thought of as laying the Easter eggs so eagerly sought by children, the Easter Rabbit is nonetheless often regarded as male. Since rabbits don't lay eggs anyhow, I suppose quibbling over gender wouldn't make much sense”.

The first edible Easter bunnies were made in Germany during the early 1800s. And were made of pastry and sugar. The newest tradition on the scene is the Easter Bilby in Australia. Instead of Chocolate Easter Bunnies, many Aussies are buying chocolate “Easter Bilbies” to raise money to save the Bilby from extinction.

Why Colored Eggs?

The precise origin of the ancient custom of coloring eggs is not known. Dyed eggs were already being used as part of pagan rituals at the dawn of history in the Near Eastern civilizations. These were the first "Easter eggs."
The idea of an egg-laying bunny came to the United States in the 18th century. German immigrants in the Pennsylvania Dutch area told their children about the "Osterhas," sometimes spelled "Oschter Haws." "Hase" means "hare," not rabbit, and in Northwest European folklore the "Easter Bunny" indeed is a hare, not a rabbit. According to the legend, only good children received gifts of colored eggs in the nests that they made in their caps and bonnets before Easter.
German Protestants wanted to retain the Catholic custom of eating colored eggs for Easter, but did not want to introduce their children to the Catholic rite of fasting. Eggs were forbidden to Catholics during the fast of Lent, which was the reason for the abundance of eggs at Easter time.

Why Does Easter Fall On A Different Date Every Year?

According to, the reason the date changes is because originally
in some ancient cultures, the hare was a symbol for the moon. Hares feed by night and have been observed staring at the moon when it is full. Their gestation period was also believed to be 28 days — the same as a lunar cycle. The lunar cycle, which represented the victory of life over death or spring over winter, was celebrated around the vernal equinox. That is why the date for Easter changes each year: it is based on the lunar cycle. The Council of Nicea convened by emperor Constantine in 325AD, decided Easter would fall on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox on 21 March. As such Easter always falls somewhere between March 22 and April 25th. According to “Easter On The Net”, the Saxons devoted the month of April to celebrating their goddess of spring and fertility, who was, not coincidentally, named Eastre.
1. Per article in Wikipedia

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