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The History of Easter Bunny tells us of the evolution of religion and symbolism that happens over centuries. A folklore figure and symbol, the Easter Bunny is depicted as a rabbit that delivers Easter eggs. This folklore creature originated among German Lutherans, first portrayed as a hare which judged children on their “good” and “bad” behavior at the start of the Easter season. The legend tells that this bunny carries colored eggs in his basket and has similarities to Santa Claus, as they both bring gifts to kids the night before the celebrated holiday.
The custom was first mentioned in a German book about Easter eggs in 1682, mentioning the Easter Hare and the tradition of delivering Easter eggs for the children.
It has been said that the reason the hare was chosen for delivering Easter eggs due to the religious popularity of the animal. Being a hermaphrodite, the hare was able to reproduce without losing its virginity, and so it was linked to the Virgin Mary. Since birds lay eggs and rabbits and hares give birth to large litters in the early spring, these became symbols of rising fertility.
Orthodox churches have a custom of abstaining from eggs during the fast of Lent. The only way to keep them from being wasted was to boil or roast this eggs and keep them until after lent was over. These eggs were said to have been decorated as part of the celebration.
It was also a part of German culture to boil the eggs with flowers to change their color. The idea of the egg-giving hare went to the US in the 18th Century. Protestant German immigrants in the Pennsylvania Dutch area told their children about the hare. According to the legend, only good children received gifts of colored eggs in the nests that they made in their caps and bonnets before Easter.