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Every Easter, children celebrate with baskets full of candy, Easter egg
hunts and tales of
the Easter bunny. Many children receive pet rabbits on Easter as well. You
may wonder how the
rabbit came to be Easter’s mascot when there is no mention of a hippity
hoppity bunny in the
bible.

HISTORY OF EASTER
Easter follows Good Friday which is the day Christians believe that Jesus
was crucified
and buried. Three days later, on Easter, Jesus rose into heaven; His body
disappeared. The name
of the holiday comes from Saxon Eostre, the goddess of the moon. Easter is
on the first Sunday
after the full moon on or following the vernal equinox. It is one of the
only Christian holidays
determined by the lunar calendar, and historically, rabbits have been
associated with the moon.
RABBITS AND THE MOON
The rabbit is mostly a nocturnal creature and finds his food at night.
Additionally, the
rabbit’s gestation period is measured in terms of lunar months or the time
it takes from a full
moon to wane and then become full again, about twenty-eight days. The rabbit
also became
associated with Easter because their time for breeding is in the spring
which usually begins around
the Easter season. The bunny is a symbol of a new life that starts at this
time.
THE EASTER BUNNY TODAY
Earlier rabbits were the subjects of springtime fables and folklore. Over
time, and with
spread of Christianity, the bunny has come to symbolize Easter by himself.
He rivals a close
second to Santa Claus when it comes to American holiday icons. Yesterday’s
youngsters might
have gathered close together on a cool spring night to hear fables of
rabbits who lived on the
moon. Now, children wake up to find baskets of chocolate bunnies and
marshmallow eggs. They
sing songs like “Here comes Peter Cottontail, hopping down the bunny trail,
Hippity Hoppity,
Easter’s on it’s way.” Indeed, the commercialization of Easter has caused
the origins of the fables
surrounding the rabbit and the moon to become long forgotten. But Christian
children everywhere
will no doubt continue to make up new tales with the Easter bunny as the
star, thereby carrying
on the tradition of springtime celebration.