Sacred hares, banished winter witches and pagan worship – the roots of Easter Bunny traditions are ancient

Sacred hares, banished winter witches and pagan worship – the roots of Easter Bunny traditions are ancient

The Easter Bunny is a much celebrated character in American Easter celebrations. On Easter Sunday, children look for hidden special treats, often chocolate Easter eggs, that the Easter Bunny might have left behind.

As a folklorist, I’m aware of the origins of the long and interesting journey this mythical figure has taken from European prehistory to today.

Religious role of the hare

Easter is a celebration of spring and new life. Eggs and flowers are rather obvious symbols of female fertility, but in European traditions, the bunny, with its amazing reproduction potential, is not far behind.

In European traditions, the Easter Bunny is known as the Easter Hare. The symbolism of the hare has had many tantalizing ritual and religious roles down through the years.

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