The Easter Bunny has long been associated with the holiday of Easter, but where does the famous rabbit come from and what’s his role?
Here’s everything you need to know about the Easter Bunny.
What are the origins of the Easter Bunny?
There are numerous tales surrounding the origins of the Easter Bunny.
One is that the rabbit comes from the ancient pagan festival of Eostre, which some believe is where the celebration of Easter began.
Eostre honoured the goddess of fertility and spring, and her animal symbol is believed to have been a rabbit, which traditionally symbolises fertility.
Easter is also believed to have originated among German Protestants around the 1600s. Their Easter Hare, would judge children and decide whether they deserved an Easter egg hunt or not.
In America, some people believe the Easter Bunny was first introduced in the 1700s by German immigrants in Pennsylvania.
They introduced their tradition of the egg-laying hare who was known as ‘Osterhase’ or ‘Oschter Haws,’ and who would lay colorful eggs as gifts to children who behaved well.
Children would then make nests for the rabbit to leave her eggs. Over time, this tradition spread across America and became a widespread Easter tradition.
The Easter Bunny's egg delivery then came to include treats such as toys and chocolate.
Where did the tradition of Easter eggs come from?
Over time, chocolate treats came to replace the coloured eggs and decorated baskets came to replace the nests.
The original tradition has roots in Paganism. Again, eggs symbolise new life and appeared in pagan festivals celebrating spring.
For Christians, the egg symbolises the moment that Jesus emerged from the tomb following crucifixion and subsequent resurrection.
Why do we have chocolate Easter eggs?
The first chocolate eggs first appeared in France and Germany in the 19th Century - but they were bitter and hard.
However, as chocolate-making techniques began to improve, hollow eggs such as the ones we are now used to eating at Easter were developed.
These hollow, chocolate Easter eggs very quickly became popular, and today they remain a favourite tradition with many around the globe.
When is Easter 2021?
Unlike Halloween, New Year or Christmas, Easter doesn’t have a set date on which it falls every year - it can fall any time between 22 March and 22 April.
In 2021, Easter Sunday will be on 4 April. Good Friday will fall on 2 April, Easter Saturday will be on 3 April and the Easter Monday bank holiday 5 April.
Why does the date of Easter change each year?
The date of Easter Sunday is decided based on a complicated set of calculations regarding observations of the moon.
The exact date on which Easter should be celebrated is something churches have debated for centuries, with various methods of calculation used by different sects.