Well, like so many things in this blog, Germany! The Lutherans, to be exact, for whom the Easter Bunny was a spring-time St Nick – judging the children’s behaviour. According to legend, in the bunny would hop, bearing gifts of coloured eggs, sweets and toys. The bringing of eggs gets its first mention way back in 1682.
Rabbits and hares have long since been associated with fertility, giving birth to large litters in spring. Long, long ago they were thought to be able to produce without the loss of virginity, leading to an association with the Virgin Mary and are sometimes represented in manuscripts and paintings showing the mother and child. They have also been associated with the Holy Trinity, such as in the three hares motive.
In Sweden, however, the hare or bunny thing never really did catch on. Although German immigrants brought it with them, the Swedish word for the Easter Hare, Påskharen, sounds rather similar to that for the Easter Man or Wizard, Påskkarlen, and it is this symbol which has become more suitable for the Pagan Swedish traditions with children still dressing up as witches at Easter to this day.
One last Easter factoid – in Bermuda kites are flown on Good Friday, as a symbol of Christ’s resurrection. I like that one!
Happy Easter all!
image credit: tiger311 at www.freeimages.com