What Is The History Of Easter Bunny? 3 Fast Facts About Origin Of Fluffy Mascot

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How is the Easter Bunny associated with Easter? Shutterstock/Konstanttin

This year, Easter Sunday falls on April 20 and the holiday, which is the oldest Christian holiday, celebrates the resurrection of Christ three days after his death. That said, as with many religiously-rooted holidays, Easter has evolved with time and has become associated with eggs, chicks, and the infamous egg-laying Easter bunny. 

What the Easter bunny has to do with Easter is not an uncommon question and even more perplexing is why the Easter bunny lays eggs -- normal bunnies and rabbits do not lay eggs in their reproduction cycle. The answers to these questions lies in the history of the celebration of Easter and how the holiday has changed over time. 

Here are three fast facts about the origins of the Easter Bunny:

1. The "Easter" bunny has pagan roots. Celebrating with Easter gifts, eggs and bunnies is a tradition that dates back to the 13th century, according to the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture. During this time, in pre-Christian Germany, many gods and goddesses were worshipped in line with pagan beliefs and culture. Around the same time as Easter, on the Vernal Equinox, feasts were held in the honor of a Teutonic deity Eostra, the goddess of spring and fertility. Eostra's symbol was a rabbit, as the creature has a high reproduction rate.

2. The bunny merged with "Easter" creating the Easter bunny. In the 15th century, Roman Catholicism became the dominant religion in Germany. It was during this time that pagan beliefs merged with the celebration of Easter and in turn, created the foundation for the association of the bunny and eggs with the resurrection of Christ.

3. Germans spread the Easter bunny. According to History.com, the German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania are the ones who introduced the Easter bunny who laid eggs -- called "Osterhase" -- to America in the 1700s. German children would make nests to place their colored eggs in, and this tradition spread through the United States until the egg-producing Easter rabbit earned the reputation of delivering chocolates and gifts in decorated Easter baskets, which replaced the original Easter nests.

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