The Easter Bunny, also known as the Easter Rabbit or the Easter Hare, is a folkloric tradition that began in Germany with the Lutherans. The "Easter Hare" much like Santa Claus was the "judge" of whether children were good or disobedient in their behavior during the Eastertide. The Easter Bunny is often depicted wearing clothing and carrying a basket of brightly colored eggs, candy, and a few toys to give to the good children on the night before Easter Sunday. This custom was first mentioned in Georg Franck von Franckenau's "About Easter Eggs" written in 1682. Rabbits and eggs are both common symbols of fertility and are thus often associated with springtime and new life. Like most traditions, the legend of the Easter Bunny spread throughout Europe and eventually to other countries around the world.
It's hard to imagine Easter without baskets of eggs and candy. Easter baskets have been providing happiness to children of all ages for centuries. Although baskets are now associated with the religious holiday of Easter, they have pagan roots. To celebrate the Spring Equinox, ancient farmers prayed to various gods to fertilize their fields. Middle Eastern cultures had a spring tradition of celebrating the first seedlings of their new crop. They would bring these new seedlings, in a basket, to the temple for a blessing and to pray that the gods would continue to bless their crops thought the remainder of the growing season. Easter occurs on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox.
The Easter Basket as we know them today, developed from more modern and Christian symbols. During Lent, the 40 days preceding Easter Sunday, is a time when many Christians abstain from eating certain foods or treats. The tradition of feasting on a big sumptuous Easter meal signals the end of Lent and is a time of celebration. In earlier centuries, however, the Easter feast was carried to the church in baskets that were then blessed by the priest, much the same way that the ancient seedling were carried to the temple for a blessing. The Easter Bunny, who carries the baskets of treats, was brought to America by Germans immigrants in the 18th century.
No matter your religious affiliation, or if you have none at all, spring is still a time of rejoicing and celebration. Whether you chose to believe in the Easter Bunny or, like me, in the Easter Frobbit, who doesn't enjoy getting a basket of delicious treats, like chocolate eggs or marshmallow Peeps?
I wish each one of you the very best this Easter Sunday, and every day this springtime. Celebrate life! You only get one so make the most of it.
Happy Easter y'all!