Well all know the story. A giant rabbit, possibly escaped from a mental hutch, runs amok and plants eggs for children to find. We're sure he means well, but why colored eggs? What's going ON here, anyway? Who is this rabbit, and why is he terrorizing the local chickens with his egg-stealing racket? Well, here are a few fun-facts to put your mind at ease.
- Like many holiday traditions, decorated eggs go further back than the holiday itself. Both eggs and rabbits are ancient symbols of fertility (rabbits tend to mate like, well, rabbits). The Persians painted eggs for their New Years celebration, which for them fell around the Spring Equinox (Humpty Dumpty's favorite Halloween costume? "Persian Egg").
- The inclusion of eggs may have emerged to symbolize the ending of lent, since some Christian groups prohibited eggs and dairy products during the period.
- Legend has it that Mary Magdalene presented the Roman Emperor with a red-colored egg, symbolizing Christ's breaking out of his tomb and his blood saving the world.
- Although the origins of the Easter Bunny are not clear, the big fellow began showing up in the United States around the 18th century. The Pennsylvania Dutch called him "Osterhase", which aside from being far more cool sounding, indicates his identification in their tradition as a "hare" rather than rabbit. Unfortunately, Elmer Fudd is currently in hunting litigation and unavailable for comment.
- There are modern references to the Germanic Goddess Eostre concerning the Easter Bunny. According to the ancient writer Bede, Eostre and her worship is the origin of the name "Easter". A recent Pagan tradition tells of Eostre finding a wounded bird in the snow, then transforming it into a rabbit so it can survive. However, it retained the ability to lay eggs (Platypus quoted by friends as "totally jealous").
- The White House Easter Egg Roll dates back at least to the early 19th century. Dolley Madison may have first suggested doing a public egg-roll, although the first official White House Lawn Egg Roll took place in 1878. Today, hundreds of kids hit the lawn each year in a fun-filled celebration, safe in the knowledge that the Easter Bunny is thoroughly frisked by Homeland Security.
Well, that's all for now. There is more to the story, of course, but who needs that when there are chocolate bunnies out there? What are you waiting for...those cute little bunnies are staring at you, aren't they? Their delicious little ears are poking out, beckoning. You want those ears. You need those ears. It is useless to resist...