Project Alicia

Tuesday, March 30, 2010






Have you ever really thought about why it is that we have an oversized, giant eared, bunny as the easter mascot? Seriously? Don’t judge.

There are just some things you do- almost like getting dressed. You don’t think much about it. You put one foot in and then the other. You just do it. Well, Easter is one of those things for me. I always dye eggs with the children. I always place giant chocolate bunnies in their baskets. There are certain things you just do, as if you are on auto pilot- because that’s what you’ve always done.

I have never really questioned it. I just went through the motions because that’s what my parents did and what their parents did and maybe even their parents. Who knows how long this tradition has been carried on.

How is it that I have lived nearly three decades and don’t know why the bunny is a symbol of easter? Was I asleep that day in class? Was it just never really talked about? Did I just never care? How can one spend 37 years celebrating a holiday with a huge bunny and not know why?

I guess my mind has been awakened as if a switch was literally flipped this year… and I have to know-

Where did the bunny come from?

For as long as I can remember my family has always celebrated Easter as a reflection of Jesus Christ- a well known story, especially in the Christian community… Christ stepped out of his tomb on the third day and ascended to heaven. Most people, even the non church going folks, are familiar with the story, so I’ll stop there.

But why bunnies?

My google search was a bit intimidating and ranged from “rabbit on the moon” to vernal mysteries to the connection between easter and east, the direction the sun rises. There are many different theories out there, everyone seems to have their own ideas about the origination and wants to put in their two cents. I’m not going to elaborate on them. I could write a book and most are just too strange.

My research eventually led me to the story of the “hare: ancient fertile symbol”, associated with spring- first introduced in Europe. The goddess of fertility was Eostre, which is where the term Easter originated. So, it is in fact the hare and not the rabbit that is the symbol for Easter.

Maybe I shouldn’t disclose my ignorance, but I always thought the rabbit and the hare were one and the same. Evidently not, but they are in the same family… connecting the dots and closing the mystery of the symbolic bunny.

So there ya have it- hippity hop hop and hares- symbolizing spring and new beginnings, as in watching the earth come to life again after being dormant for a season or watching a chick hatch, whatever you think of when you think of spring- because as I’m learning symbols are open to your own interpretation.

3 comments:

  1. Ok. Well this makes some sense. haha. I had a friend as a kid that was a Jehovah's Witness. Kids aren't always the best at explaining their religions. I asked why she did not celebrate Easter. She said it had to do with the fact that the bunnies would come from hell and get all the women pregnant. It's not hard to believe that that isn't the truth. However Jehovah's Witnesses don't celebrate holidays because many of them have some kind of pagan derivation. Easter is one of them. Eggs and Bunnies are signs of fertility and are pagan symbols. Even my birthday which is on May Day came from a Pagan holiday celebrating Spring. Interesting, hmm?

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  2. That is very interesting, Anna. I knew about them not celebrating holidays, just never really knew why.

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  3. haha I was just wondering about this last week! but hadn't gotten around to googling it. I think bunnies are cuter than hares ;) haha

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