Easter has arrived - a time of springtime celebration linked inexorably to the Christian tradition. There are, however, some peculiar traditions that we’ve garnered in the U.S. that (at face value, at least) are lacking in reason.
Take the Easter Bunny, for instance. I remember getting dressed for Easter service when I was young and “hunting” for conveniently placed eggs on the church/park lawn that were left by the mysterious rabbit who brought us gifts of sweets every year.
Only later in life does it start to seem odd. Why on Earth would a rabbit go around leaving colored eggs in our lawns? Isn’t the rabbit a mammal? Wouldn’t a bird make more sense?
(Above.) The Easter Bunny with the eggs he just laid. Wait. What?
WARNING: LIFE SPOILER ALERT - If you don’t want to know the truth about one of the most fantastical creatures in American folklore (ex. Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, Hannah Montana) do not read on.
The rabbit or hare is a staple of springtime because of its breeding habits; the same goes for birds. Copious amounts of bunnies run around in spring and tons of nests can be found with little, lovely eggs in them. Fertility, new life, new colorful blooms – all things which conjure images of spring. So the arrival of the season was synthesized into a mythical creature. That’s where the <i> Osterhase</i> comes in: The Easter Bunny.
The myth of the Easter Bunny is a tradition passed down from Germany. The <i>osterhase</i> was introduced to the U.S. by German settlers in Pennsylvania during the 18th century. Similar to Kris Kringle/Santa, the magical rabbit would leave gifts of colored eggs to good children. These eggs would be deposited in nests the children created and left in a secluded area. As the tradition spread, the nests became baskets and the children would earn the eggs not by being nice instead of naughty (to borrow a phrase from Santa’s mythology) but by hunting for them. The colored eggs could be representational of the colorful flowers which arrive in spring, another way the season was mythologized.
Knowing all this info, it is hard not to imagine what other creatures we could have ended up with instead of the Easter Bunny. Imagine: a flower-laying bird (The Easter Birdie?), or a mobile colorful flower sprouting eggs that hatch rabbits (The Easter Bloomer?).
Leave a comment below with YOUR hilarious Easter creature possibilites.
So this Easter, be happy to leave your reason behind and enjoy the season.
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