Spare a thought for the Easter Bunny.
One step up from the Tooth Fairy perhaps, yet always in the shadow of Santa Claus. To be fair, Santa Claus has eaten so many cookies at this stage that he casts a fairly big shadow.
But this weekend is the Easter Bunny’s time to shine, bringing chocolate eggs to all of us who deserve them.
But just who is the Easter Bunny? Let’s find out…
1. The Easter Bunny isn’t really a bunny at all. Originally, he was an Easter Hare.
2. The Easter Bunny is German, where he is known as ‘Osterhase’.
3. The Easter Bunny originated among German Lutherans and he was first mentioned as an egg-bringer in 1682.
4. The Easter Hare started out as a judge, deciding whether children were naughty or nice. If they were good, the hare would lay eggs for them.
5. Hares, rabbits and eggs are all associated with fertility and so they became linked with Easter.
6. Early Christians painted eggs red to represent the blood of Jesus Christ at his crucifixion.
7. Protestant German immigrants brought the custom of the Easter Bunny to the US in the 18th century
8. In 19th century Sweden, there was a mix-up over translation after the Germans tried to bring over the custom of the Easter Bunny. Instead, he became the Easter Wizard, and children in Sweden still dress up as witches and wizards at Easter today, leaving letters with neighbours in exchange for sweets or money.
9. The pagan goddess of spring was Eostre, and she was represented by the hare.
10. It was said the rabbit belonging to Eostre could lay eggs because it used to be a bird.
11. In the early 1800s in Germany, children would build nests out of their hats for the Easter Hare to fill with coloured eggs.
12. About 86 million chocolate bunnies are produced in Germany each year – almost half are sold abroad.
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