Everyone tends to associate various things with Easter and the Easter Bunny is one of them. The Easter Bunny is a character who hides eggs on Easter morning for children to find. The bunny is friendly and is always shown as happy and smiling on images around Easter time. People are quite surprised to find out that the history of the Easter Bunny is a lot older than they think. In fact the history of the bunny goes back many hundreds of years to Saxon times.
The Goddess Eastre
In Saxon times people welcomed the beginning of spring with a huge festival that commemorated the Goddess of this time of year - Eastre. She was known for being a symbol of new life and was highly regarded by everyone who celebrated the festival. Around the same time Christians were also celebrating the Resurrection of Christ and over the years the two festivals merged into one another as more and more people turn to Christianity.
A Symbol Of Fertility
As Eastre was a symbol of fertility so was the hare or the rabbit. These animals were seen as the most fertile around, especially at springtime when they would reproduce in great numbers. They were seen as the sign of new life in the spring and they become intrinsically linked with Easter time and the festival that surrounded it.
The Easter Bunny was mentioned for the first time in 1500s when German writers spoke about it. This bunny would leave gifts of brightly colored eggs - another symbol of fertility for the children of villages. To encourage the Easter Bunny to visit village children would make nests in which the eggs could be left. Girls would tend to use their bonnets to make these nests where the boys would use their caps. It is from this tradition that the tradition of Easter bonnets was derived.
The first eggs that were left by the Easter Bunny were hens or ducks eggs which were wrapped in gold leaf or colored paper. As time progressed these eggs started to be made from chocolate and were a real treat for any children who had a visit from the Easter Bunny. Children would also a hard boil eggs and paint them to make attractive displays that would be put in their homes around Easter time.
The Easter Bunny In The USA
By the 19th century German settlers had brought the tradition of the Easter Bunny to America. Children would now traditionally build nests made from sticks and leaves in their gardens and eagerly await the arrival of the Easter Bunny. This tradition moved on until the Easter Bunny would not just leave chocolate eggs - it would also leave different candies, jellybeans and other small gifts.
Today the Easter Bunny is a central figure of Easter time and there are many different variations on the types of eggs that it will leave. For a comprehensive view of the Easter Bunny and the history of Easter take a look at the Phancy Pages website which can be found here http://www.phancypages.com/newsletter/ZNewsletter2599.htm which has plenty of information.