Sweet Easter Bunnies 

The first edible Easter Bunnies were made from sugar during the sixteenth century in Germany. Now, these Easter treats are manufactured in all sizes and are usually made of chocolate.

Our famous Easter Bunny, which yearly brings chocolate eggs to millions of children worldwide, is derived from the sacred hare of the Anglo-Saxon fertility goddess Eostre, also known as Ostara. Often, she was depicted as hare-headed. Like all lunar deities, she represented the rebirth of nature and fertility, celebrated during the spring equinox. From her name is derived the term Easter, her hare incorrectly called the Easter Bunny. 

Most ancient deities had specific patron animals. As the owl was sacred to Athena, so the hare, because of its renowned fertility, was an attribute and companion to the most prominent pagan goddesses: Venus, Aphrodite, Diana, and Ostara. This association probably contributed to the hare’s sinister reputation in later times, linking it to stories of witchcraft, as pagan gods and goddesses and their patron animals were vilified by the Church after the spread of Christianity. 

Fertility deities symbolising the rebirth cycle of nature were not only traditionally associated with the hare, but also the moon, as this heavenly body was linked with the concept of rebirth, disappearing from the sky for three days after each lunar cycle, and then seemingly reborn again as a crescent. Hence, there is a chain of associations – fertility gods, the hare, and the moon. The hare, a prolific breeder, is found in mythologies worldwide and goes back to ancient times. It is depicted on Assyrian reliefs and ancient Egyptian wall paintings. In mythology, the hare is invariably an attribute to lunar deities and, hence, a symbol of fertility. In ancient Sanskrit literature, the hare is the symbol of the moon-god Chandra, usually depicted carrying a hare. Similarly, the Scandinavian goddess, Freyja, had attendant hares and Celtic moon-deities were often depicted holding a hare. The hare is also the symbol of the moon in Burmese mythology, and during the Chinese moon festival, figures of hares, which represent the yin lunar power, are celebrated.

Therefore, the truth about our famous Easter Bunny is that it is simply a relic of ancient universal associations: the spring equinox and the approximate time of our Easter – to rebirth and fertility and both linked with moon-deities, who were always linked to the hare, hence, the Easter Bunny! 


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