Easter is not all about eating chocolate – that’s just the bit the kids (big and small!) love. As well as huge calorie intakes, it’s a time that’s unavoidably associated with one of our cute furry friends, the rabbit.
But what, when you actually stop to think about it, does a rabbit have to do with Easter? It gets especially confusing when you add in the fact that it’s a rabbit/egg combination in terms of symbols. It begs the further question: what do rabbits have to do with eggs?
You won’t be surprised to hear that, like so many things, the consensus of opinion is that it’s all been a twist of history (and not led by the Bible as many might imagine).
In fact, rather than being a Christian symbol, it’s widely thought to be based on paganism and, in particular, a form that travelled from Germany to America in the 1700s. So, just like Halloween, it’s understood to have crossed the pond, evolved and then been exported back to Europe again.
The eggs? Well, they obviously don’t have a direct link to bunnies, because as we all know, rabbits don’t lay eggs! However the tradition of decorating eggs for the occasion of Easter seems to have got all mixed up with the Easter Bunnies concept after stories were written in the 1700s about rabbits laying eggs in the garden (!).
And now the two are inextricably linked, to the point where you will see many images of said bunny carrying baskets full of eggs, or being held responsible for hiding eggs to be found on Easter Sunday.
When you dig below the surface it soon becomes apparent that you could write a book (or three) about the history of this topic and probably still not have a version of the truth that you could be 100 per cent sure of.
What we do know is that Easter is great for keeping up the profile of the humble rabbit, with some nice positive publicity as a the bringer of tasty chocolate treats (just don’t feed them to your bunny – they’d prefer a rabbit donut treat instead!).