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Easter Bunny

About Easter

Easter Bunny

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, by MultiMedia

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The Easter Bunny (also known as Spring Bunny in the United States) is a fantasy or mythological rabbit which leaves gifts for children at Easter (or at Springtime). It originates in Western European cultures, where it however is a hare rather than a rabbit.

Early history

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.

The idea of an egg-laying rabbit came to the United States in the 18th century. German immigrants in the Pennsylvania Dutch area told their children about the "Osterhase" (also: "Oschter Haws"). "Hase" means "hare", not rabbit, and in Northwest European folklore the "Easter Bunny" indeed is a hare, not a rabbit.

Only good children received gifts of colored eggs in the nests that they made in their caps and bonnets before Easter. Presumably, the Oschter Haws laid them when the children were not looking.

A hundred years later Jakob Grimm wrote of long-standing similar myths in Germany itself. Noting many related landmarks and customs, Grimm traced German legends of Ostara back to at least the 7th century.

Local traditions

According to American lore, the Easter Bunny leaves baskets of treats (including Easter eggs and assorted chocolates) on Easter morning for good children. Sometimes children leave out carrots for the Easter Bunny, which is similar to the practice of leaving milk and cookies for Santa Claus.

In Australia, rabbits are an invasive species and generally considered pests. A long-running campaign to replace the Easter Bunny with the Easter Bilby, a native marsupial, yielded moderate success. Easter Bilbies are a common and unremarked sight in many Australian stores around Easter. The Easter Bunny, however, remains considerably more recognized and well known than its bilby counterpart.

In France, the eggs are not laid by rabbits, but dropped from the sky by "les cloches de Pques," flying church bells coming back from Rome where they spent Easter.

Mythology

The original Easter Bunny myth comes from a pagan holiday which was celebrated on the Vernal Equinox. According to Pagan legend, Ostara, the goddess of spring, turned a bird into a rabbit. The rabbit was supposedly able to fly as fast as the bird could fly, but it was still disappointed that it was a rabbit and not a bird. Ostara had pity on the creature, and one day out of every year, on the Vernal Equinox, she allowed the rabbit to lay eggs like a bird. Due to the proximity of Easter and the Vernal Equinox, converted pagans continued to associate the myth with their new holiday, and the idea has been passed down ever since.

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About Easter, made by MultiMedia | Free content and software

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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