Story Behind Easter Bunny: Easter is the Christian celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, but the seasonal chocolate eggs and the bunny who delivers them are nowhere to be found in scripture.
The exact origins of the Easter bunny are clouded in mystery. One theory is that the symbol of the rabbit stems from pagan tradition, specifically the festival of Eostre—a goddess of fertility whose animal symbol was a bunny. Rabbits, known for their energetic breeding, have traditionally symbolized fertility.
Eggs are also representative of new life, and it’s believed that decorating eggs for Easter date back to the 13th century. Hundreds of years ago, churches had their congregations abstain from eggs during Lent, allowing them to be consumed again on Easter.
History of Easter Eggs and Easter Bunny
From the name to the bunny, it’s all German. The name Easter was first appropriated by the Christian calendar. First, it was the pagan festival Ostara, celebrated on the vernal equinox, around March 21 in the Northern hemisphere. Ostara was named for the pagan goddess of spring, Eostre. According to legend, she once saved a bird whose wings had frozen during the winter by turning it into a rabbit. Because the rabbit had once been a bird, it could lay eggs. And so it became the Easter Bunny.
The bunny as a symbol for Easter is first mentioned in writings in 16th century Germany. The first edible Easter bunnies, made of pastry and sugar, were also produced in Germany in the early 1800s. Around that time, children made nests of grass and settled them in their parents’ spring gardens for the Easter Bunny to fill during the night with brightly decorated eggs.
Pennsylvania Dutch settlers brought the Easter bunny to America in the 1700s. Their children, who used their hats or bonnets to make their nests, believed that if they were well behaved, the “Oschter Haws” (literally Easter Hare) would fill their upturned headgear with colored eggs.
The Easter egg hunt remains as much a tradition in German towns and cities as it is on the White House lawn in Washington, D.C. Children race to find the Bunny’s colorful eggs across the world every year.
Story Behind Easter Bunny
Once upon a time, there was a King who had a very powerful magician at his court. One day, the magician gave the King a hen that laid beautiful eggs for a present. The king liked the eggs but he was greedy and he told his magician that he would like the hen better, if she could lay eggs of gold. So the Magician worked another magic spell and sure enough the hen started laying eggs of gold.
The king was delighted. He became very rich and the envy of the other kings. He kept his special hen in a golden cage next to his thrown. He knew that someday, someone would try to steal his hen, so whenever visitors came, he would have his magician come and hide the special hen and substitute an ordinary hen in the cage.
Sure enough, one day someone ran off with the hen in the golden cage. The king was glad he had had his magician switch the hens. He sent word for the magician to bring back his hen. But the next day, when the king looked in his golden cage all he found was a white rabbit. “What’s this!” said the King. “Little rabbit, how did you get in here? The King opened the cage and had his footman take the rabbit back out to the woods where he belonged. Then he called for his magician.
“Where is my magic hen?”, asked the King. I told you to bring her back. “I did bring her back,” said the magician. “I put her in the cage”, I just didn’t have time to change her back into a hen.”
They never did find the little white rabbit, but from that day forward, children found colorful eggs hidden all over the kingdom. And some say, that every once in a while someone found a golden one.
EASTER STORY FOR KIDS
The Whale, Elephant and the Bunny
One day little Brother Rabbit was running along on the sand, lippety, lippety when he saw the Whale and the Elephant talking together. Little Brother Rabbit crouched down and listened to what they were saying. This was what they were saying:
“You are the biggest thing on the land, Brother Elephant,” said the Whale, “and I am the biggest thing in the sea; if we join together we can rule all the animals in the world, and have our way about everything.”
“Very good, very good,” trumpeted the Elephant; “that suits me; we will do it.”
Little Brother Rabbit snickered to himself. “They won’t rule me,” he said. He ran away and got a very long, very strong rope, and he got his big drum and hid the drum a long way off in the bushes. Then he went along the beach till he came to the Whale.
“Oh, please, dear, strong Mr. Whale,” he said, “will you have the great kindness to do me a favor? My cow is stuck in the mud, a quarter of a mile from here. And I can’t pull her out. But you are so strong and so obliging, that I venture to trust you will help me out.”
The Whale was so pleased with the compliment that he said, “Yes,” at once.
“Then,” said the Rabbit, “I will tie this end of my long rope to you, and I will run away and tie the other end round my cow, and when I am ready I will beat my big drum. When you hear that, pull very, very hard, for the cow is stuck very deep in the mud.”
“Huh!” grunted the Whale, “I’ll pull her out if she is stuck to the horns.”
Little Brother Rabbit tied the rope-end to the whale, and ran off, lippety, lippety till he came to the place where the Elephant was.
“Oh, please, mighty and kindly Elephant,” he said, making a very low bow
“will you do me a favor?”
“What is it?” asked the Elephant.
“My cow is stuck in the mud, about a quarter of a mile from here,” said little Brother Rabbit, “and I cannot pull her out. Of course you could. If you will be so very obliging as to help me — ”
“Certainly,” said the Elephant grandly, “certainly.”
“Then,” said little Brother Rabbit, “I will tie one end of this long rope to your trunk, and the other to my cow, and as soon as I have tied her tightly I will beat my big drum. When you hear that, pull; pull as hard as you can, for my cow is very heavy.”
“Never fear,” said the Elephant, “I could pull twenty cows.”
“I am sure you could,” said the Rabbit, politely,”only be sure to begin gently, and pull harder and harder till you get her.”
Then he tied the end of the rope tightly round the Elephant’s trunk and ran away into the bushes. There he sat down and beat the big drum.
The Whale began to pull, and the Elephant began to pull, and in a jify the rope tightened till it was stretched as hard as could be.
“This is a remarkably heavy cow,” said the Elephant; “but I’ll fetch her!” And he braced his forefeet in the earth and gave a tremendous pull.
“Dear me!” said the Whale. “That cow must be stuck mighty tight;” and he drove his tail deep in the water, and gave a marvelous pull.
He pulled harder; the Elephant pulled harder. Pretty soon the Whale found himself sliding toward the land. The reason was, of course, that the Elephant had something solid to brace against, and, too, as fast as he pulled the rope in a little, he took a turn with it round his trunk!
But when the Whale found himself sliding toward the land he was so provoked with the cow that he dove head first, down to the bottom of the sea. That was a pull! The Elephant was jerked off his feet and came slipping and sliding to the beach, and into the surf. He was terribly angry. He braced himself with all his might and pulled his best. At the jerk, up came the Whale out of the water.
“Who is pulling me?” spouted the Whale.
“Who is pulling me?” trumpeted the Elephant.
And then each saw the rope in the other’s hold.
“I’ll teach you to play cow!” roared the Elephant.
“I’ll show you how to fool me!” fumed the Whale. And they began to pull again. But this time the rope broke, the Whale turned a somersault, and the Elephant fell over backward.
At that, they were both so ashamed that neither would speak to the other. So that broke up the bargain between them.
And little Brother Rabbit sat in the bushes and laughed, and laughed, and laughed.