Why are there so many Bunnies at Easter?
Repost from 2/28/22
Spring is a magical season. The world seems to stir and bloom from a long winter’s nap. The sun is out longer. The temperature rises, and we can shed some of our layers. The excitement and joy that comes with the Spring season only seem to add to the excitement of Easter.
The Easter season is chalked full of traditions and symbolism. One of the most prominent figures of the holiday is the Easter Bunny.
But where did this symbol come from?
The exact origins of the Easter Bunny tradition are unknown, although some historians believe it arrived in America with German immigrants in the 1700s. Rabbits are, in many cultures, known as enthusiastic pro-creators, so the arrival of baby bunnies in springtime meadows became associated with birth and renewal. In which, the original holiday of the Spring Equinox is celebrated.
According to some sources, the Easter bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws.” Their children made nests in which this creature could lay its colored eggs. Eventually, the custom spread across the U.S. and the fabled rabbit’s Easter morning deliveries expanded to include chocolate and other types of candy and gifts, while decorated baskets replaced nests.
In many Christian households, the Easter bunny has been omitted from their Easter celebrations. Due to the pagan origins of the holiday character. Even in doing so, the Easter Bunny doesn’t go away. Chocolate rabbit candies, Rabbits on decorations. There is no escaping the influence of the cultural symbols of an American Holiday.
So why not reclaim the Easter Bunny character to point others to remind us of the transformation Christ’s resurrection does in our lives?
This is what many first-century believers did, they took a pagan belief and adapted it to communicate the gospel. The Christmas Tree and the shamrock are just two examples. It’s even what Jesus did with his parables. He took elements of the known world and used them to communicate the truth about himself or the Kingdom of God.
This is what I’ve done in my book An Easter Bunny’s Tale.
Trying to reclaim the Easter bunny isn’t a new idea. Several other authors have written books directed at parents, but I wanted to write something for kids to visualize the transformational power that Jesus’ action on the cross provided for all of us.
Sometimes when communicating the gospel to children the hardest thing for them to understand is the transformation. The old has passed and the new has come”, “a slave to sin and now set free”. The transformative work of the cross is communicated in words throughout the New Testament, but even as an adult, I struggle to communicate and live out the transformation that has happened.
In my book An Easter Bunny’s Tale, you follow a gray rabbit as he hears a voice in a garden one evening. A voice, that sounds much like the voice of the Creator. The rabbit moves in closer as torches flicker and soldiers surround God in manly flesh. Rabbit is confused about why the people don’t bend their knees and recognize him as God. His curiosity peaked, and Rabbit continues to follow the Creator to a courtyard and a palace. What he sees shocks and frightens him to run, but he can’t find his way home, so he hides in a tomb. When he feels brave enough to dash off in search of home people come into the cave and then a stone rolls over the entrance. Fear and hunger wash over Rabbit, but what comes next is the most exciting thing, and he can’t wait to tell others what has happened. Will you listen to his tale?
An Easter Bunny’s Tale is available on Amazon.