Bunnies, Eggs, and All That
It won’t be long now. Easter is only days away. The good folks in Shady Pines Story Town are all atwitter about this most festive of holidays. But it got us thinking about the symbols related to this holiday.
For instance, how did we end up with an egg laying bunny? Bunnies don’t lay eggs. Chickens lay eggs. And yet, you always see a bunny surrounded by colorful eggs. Now how did that get started?
Well we did a little digging and it turns out the myth of the Easter Bunny is not easy to pin down! But there is an historic reason why a rascally rabbit was chosen.
You see rabbits have been associated with springtime celebrations for a really long time. After all, baby rabbits are mostly born in the spring. That’s one reason.
The Goddess who Started it All
Secondly, to find the link between springtime, rabbits and eggs you have to go a long way back in history – to the fourth century. There you find the symbol of the season of renewal, which is spring. And SHE was something. Back then, they talked about the goddess of dawn and new birth. Her name was Eostre. When she shows up in books she is usually drawn to look like a woman in a flowing dress.
This goddess’ name came from the ancient word for spring which was Eastre. (Easter for us) The animal most associated with the goddess Eastre was the rabbit. The symbol for the rebirth of life in springtime was the egg. Got it? That’s the connection between the Easter Bunny and the eggs. It’s a goddess. Pretty cool, huh?
So now we know why rabbits and eggs have long been associated with Easter. But what about the chocolate deliverly Easter bunny? When did that start?
For that symbol we go back to the 1600’s. That’s when a rabbit known as Osterhas, begins popping up in literature. His name translates as ‘Easter rabbit.’ As the story goes, the furry critter was said to leave colorful eggs all around for children to find on Easter Sunday. When the first Europeans landed in America many years later, they brought this tradition with them.
This is another symbol that we can trace back to ‘ole Osterhas, the original Easter Bunny. When children found all those eggs he had hidden, they had to put them somewhere. So they made nests, or as we know them today, Easter baskets.
Nowadays those baskets and containers come in all shapes and sizes and are decorated to the hilt. Some baskets not only have decorated eggs and chocolate bunnies, but little games and other toys, too.
So remember two things before you go on an Easter Egg Hunt, or you play the Easter Bunny in your school play and before you dive into a basket full of goodies. You have the Goddess Eostre (Easter) and that rabbit Osterhas to thank for giving us an excuse to eat a few more chocolates on Easter Sunday!
From all of us in the small Southern town of Shady Pines, we wish you a delightful holiday.