For this Easter day post, I’d been trying to think of something profound to say about the resurrection. Unfortunately, profound insights don’t arrive on cue. So here is instead is what Vox has to say about the origins of the Easter Bunny:
In case you’re unsure — no, there are no Easter Bunny cameos in the Gospels. The first historical references we have to an Easter Bunny dates to the 16th-century German tale of Oschter Haws. According to this legend, a mysterious creature named Oschter Haws, or Easter Hare, visited children while they slept and rewarded them for their good behavior (similar to Santa). The children made nests for these hares, who would then lay colored eggs in them.
The tale was then brought to America when Germans emigrated here in the 1700s. The legend of the Easter Hare continued to grow in America, especially as books like The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902) and The Easter Bunny That Overslept (1957) were published. In 1971, ABC aired a television special called Here Comes Peter Cottontail, which was based on the 1957 book.
But where did Germans get the idea to associate a hare with Easter? The history here is murky. Some people suggest that in antiquity, hares were associated with new life, due to their high fertility rate. Some have theorized that there is a connection between hares and the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre — the goddess from whose name “Easter” may be derived, according to one source.