Japanese Woodblock print of “Two Rabbits and Bush Clover Under Moon”, (“Hagi no Usagi”) by Koson, c. 1931. Akasaka Collection
Tomorrow is Easter, the Christian holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Have you ever wondered why a fluffy bunny represent this somber holiday? There is certainly no mention of twitchy-nosed rabbits in the Biblical resurrection story. The Easter bunny originates much later…or earlier, depending on how you look at it.
Rabbit wine bottle holder by Arthur Court, brass and aluminum, American, circa 1986. Sooky Goodfriend
The Easter bunny can be traced back to 13th century pre-Christian Germany where, among the many gods, people worshiped Eostra, the goddess of fertility, whose feast was held on the Vernal Equinox. The rabbit was her symbol due to its famed reproductive rate.
Large Hirado porcelain charger, blue and white enamels worked in low relief, and depicting a scene of two rabbits amid fans, Japan, 19th century. Flying Cranes Antiques
The association of Easter bunnies with eggs (similarly symbolic of new life), came about in the 15th century when Roman Catholicism became the predominant religion in Germany, and cannily merged with the entrenched pagan beliefs.
Rabbit form wall plaque with 2 hooks, original glass eyes, England, circa 1930s.
The first Easter bunny legend was documented in the 1500s, and from there, German immigrants brought the legend to the United States in the 1700s. The tradition of building nests for rabbits to “lay” their eggs soon followed, and the rest is charming history.