As you look forward to the Easter season, have you ever stopped to think about the Easter Bunny? What exactly is the story behind the Easter Bunny? This busy little fuzzball will be quite exhausted come Easter Monday, having doled out countless multi-colored eggs and candy far and wide, satisfying the sweet-tooths of so many children and adults alike.
But where did this mysterious figure come from? Let’s take a look into the famous rabbit’s origins and we'll answer the question, where did Easter eggs originate?
The Origins of the Easter Bunny Tradition
Have you ever heard the expression “breeding like rabbits?” Because of their abundant fertility, these furry little creatures have come to symbolize new life. And since Easter takes place during spring, a time of rebirth rejuvenation and renewal, rabbits have become associated with this long-celebrated holiday. But the story behind the Easter Bunny goes even deeper and farther back.
The Easter Bunny tradition and the legend of a rabbit bringing sweets to children at Easter is believed to date back to 16th century Germany where the first edible bunnies were made out of pastry. It wasn’t until the early 20th century, and the invention of milk chocolate and advances in molding techniques that chocolate bunnies hopped on to the scene. According to other sources that have addressed the question of where does the Easter Bunny come from, the symbolic animal first arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws.”
This also answers the question of where did Easter eggs originate. Children made nests for the hare to lay its colored eggs. Eventually, the custom spread throughout the United States and the fabled rabbit’s Easter morning surprises grew to include chocolate, candy and gifts, with decorated baskets replacing the nests.
The story behind the Easter Bunny has been told worldwide, but it doesn’t have a monopoly on the gift-giving adventure. In other countries, different animals take on the job. If you ask someone in Switzerland where did Easter eggs originate, they’ll tell you they’re delivered by a cuckoo. In parts of Germany, they’re brought by a fox, and in Australia, where wild rabbits are thought to be pests, the Easter Bunny tradition has been ousted and replaced with the bilby, an endangered marsupial.
Other Egg-citing Easter Facts
- In the U.S., we buy more chocolate at Easter than at almost any other time of the year, surpassing Valentine’s Day, Halloween and Mother’s Day.
- Most chocolate bunnies are hollow, but solid bunnies are growing in popularity since they’re cheaper to manufacture and less fragile to transport.
- As the story behind the Easter bunny has spread over the years, the chocolate treats have been created as ballerina bunnies, cartoon character bunnies and bunnies with exotic flavored fillings.
- Americans have a soft spot for Easter jellybeans, which are produced in limited-edition pastel colors during the holiday.
- About 80% of chocolate lovers eat their bunnies’ ears first, with 5% starting at the feet and 4% going in at the tail.
Regardless of whether or not you’ve wondered where does the Easter Bunny come from, one thing’s for sure, he or she has always been a good egg! Along with delicious treats, the Easter Bunny brings positive sentiments of renewal and refreshment to homes around the world. What will you and your Easter Bunny be up to this Easter?