Easter has evolved over thousands of years to become the celebration we recognise today. It is the oldest Christian holiday and the most important day of the year for the Church. Of course, you don't need me to tell you why we celebrate Easter for religious reasons, but there are many non-religious traditions that factor in this spring celebration.
Today we're going to look at the Easter Bunny: the tradition follows that children make nests outside in the garden and the Easter Bunny visits during the night and leaves chocolate and decorated eggs for children to find in the morning.
A rabbit that lays eggs, has this freak of Nature never concerned you? Perhaps it's because we've always been too preoccupied with the chocolate it delivers!
The story of the Easter Bunny is quite long and complex, but I'll try and break it down. In many cultures, the moon is a symbol of fertility and in turn the hare is linked with the moon. Another name for Easter is 'Paschal' which refers to the paschal full moon. The date of Easter is determined as the first Sunday after this moon is seen. The rabbit, being of the same family as the hare is known for it's rate of reproduction, so it is also linked with the moon! This is where the Easter Rabbit came from.
In respect to how the bunny got its eggs, that's another story! The rabbit and the egg were first linked in Germany.
So what came first, the rabbit or the egg? We're not entirely sure: the custom of giving and receiving eggs dates back to the Egyptians and Romans! Like rabbits, eggs symbolise life at Easter.
Both symbols are produced in their millions every year and after Halloween, Easter manufactures the most confectionary!
Even though we cannot say for definite what came first, we can say with confidence that chocolate bunnies and eggs both taste delicious!