How Did The Easter Bunny Become Part Of Our Culture?

If you have children, then they likely woke up this morning going on an Easter egg hunt. The reason for the hunt, of course, is because the Easter Bunny has hidden eggs.

Like the Tooth Fairy and Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny is a mythical figure that has been in our culture for many generations. The interesting thing is that many people do not know how the Easter Bunny became a part of our culture and holiday celebration.

The hard part with trying to answer the question of how the Easter Bunny originated is that multiple theories exist claiming to answer this question.

One theory of the origin of the Easter Bunny goes back to the Pagans. In the spring, the Pagans held a ritual to their goddess Eostre or Eastre. This goddess represented fertility. The goddess Eostre was also associated with both rabbits and eggs. Like Christmas, Christianity incorporated old pagan rituals and customs into their own celebrations. Easter was no different.

Sometime during the 1600’s, Germans adopted the pagan use of the rabbit and eggs and created their own “Easter Bunny.” The name of this early version of the Easter Bunny was Oschter Haws. This bunny was believed to lay colored eggs as gifts for the local children.

It was not until the 1900’s though that the actual term, Easter Bunny, shows up in the English language. During this period of history, Europeans were making the voyage to America in search of a new life. The Europeans brought with them their history and customs. One of these groups that made the trip was the Germans. The Easter Bunny had now reached American soil.

The Easter Bunny had evolved through the centuries and once it reached America, another part of the Easter Bunny’s and the holiday of Easter history was created. Chocolate.

In the year 1890, a Pennsylvania man named Robert L. Strohecker created a 5-foot tall bunny made out of chocolate and displayed it in the window of his pharmacy during and Easter promotion. It is thought that this was the first time that chocolate became synonymous with Easter and in the Easter Bunny.

As the Easter Bunny kept evolving, it became a springtime version of Santa Clause. The Easter Bunny would bring chocolate and gifts to children.

The Easter Bunny, like many old traditions, has changed throughout the centuries. How do you think the Easter Bunny will change in the next hundred years?

[IMG Credit Joe Raedle Getty Images]