Saturday, April 07, 2007

Vy Not a Duck?

How did the rabbit become a symbol of Easter?

From ancient times, the hare was revered by many pagan cultures because of its notorious fertility. The Saxons also worshiped a fertility goddess named Eastre, who was honored with a festival every spring when plants returned to life and animals mated after the long winter. In the 2nd century, Christian missionaries converted Northern European tribes by combining pagan festivals with their own holidays to make Christianity more palatable. Since the Eastre festival occurred around the same time as the resurrection of Jesus, it was easy to blend them together. The rabbit was part of the package.

Eventually, Eastre became Easter, and the symbolism changed as well. The rabbit no longer represented fertility, but a vulnerable creature that could be sacrificed, like the lamb. Christians considered these innocents tokens of Christ and his sacrifices.

The Easter bunny derives from a German tradition in the 1500's. Children were told that a magical rabbit would leave them a nest of colored eggs at Easter if they were good. The first jelly beans were placed in children's shoes. Before long, there was so much candy that a larger container was needed, so they began to use baskets. The Pennsylvania Dutch settlers brought this custom to America in the 1700's, and we've been observing it ever since.

I do not believe in leaving anything to chance. It's time to make a run to the Godiva chocolate store to purchase a dark chocolate bunny for myself. I've been a good girl. I deserve it. First, I'll nibble off his ears....


Lex said...

HA!! That comic is too funny.

I think I deserve an Easter treat too. I must do something about that.

A friend of mine just returned from Germany. She brought me a Kinder egg. It was luscious chocolate with a toy inside. Argentina had the fabulous, elaborate chocolate eggs for Easter too. So much chocolate, so little time.

I wish I had remembered it was Easter sooner.

Have a great one!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I'm a little behind the curve, too. When my daughter told me that her office was closed yesterday, I went to the calendar to see why. (Big Duh.)

But, now that I know -- ready, aim, CHOCOLATE!!!

Michelle O'Neil said...

Thanks for the rabbit info.

I wonder who came up with putting edibles in a shoe?


heartinsanfrancisco said...


I was wondering, too, especially considering how often they bathed in those days.

Thanks for coming by.

Kate S said...

Love the rabbit comic! I went out today for the sole purpose of finding a chocolate bunny - for myself, not my daughter. :)

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Sounds right. After all, your daughter's will be provided by Monsieur Lapin, while you are on your own. (I'm pretty sure that parenthood means automatic eviction from the bunny's gift list.)

CS said...

Wow, I just realized I need to buy my own chocolate bunny this year.

I think most of the Christian holidays have been overlaid onto Pagan holdays to ease the conversion. Kind of a shame people let go of the original meanings - what's not to like aboit celebrating rebirth and renewal?

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I'm all for rebirth and fertility, but chocolate eases my conversion to anything.

Jocelyn said...

You never fail to teach me something...and I was only a leeetle bit scared of that white bun-bun with the black ring around its eye (my fear of rodents extends to rabbits. Yes, I know. I have problems. You do not. You are great.)

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Oh, the killer rabbit with his roguish eye patch. Sneaky Pete Cottontail. His picture is on every post office wall in the territory. The dude is BAAAAAD.

Sorry about that. I didn't mean to upset you. Just close your eyes and think of Cadbury's.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I laughed for 3 minutes. I timed it! Something really funny about maimed chocolate bunnies. Thanks for the history lesson on the tradition too.

EsLocura said...

great cartoon, I am more of a Peeps girl at easter,only after the pakage has been sitting around opened for a few days, yum, air dried, stale peeps. But I might have a chocolate bunny this year because of that cartoon.

QT said...

I love me some easter chocolate as well - and the jellybeans, too!

Lee said...

Thanks for the history lesson. You always teach me something. That comic is one of my favorites...I stuck it on my post today too!

Happy Chocolate Bunny to you!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


You wouldn't be laughing if those maimed chocolate animals were squirrels, would you?

The Easter Squirrel. Hmmmm


You could open the bunny 's wrapper and let it sit around for a few days. Stale chocolate is good. You'll like it.


I adore the gourmet jelly beans with Baskin & Robbins flavors.


Happy maimed, hurting, earless and bunless chocolate bunny to you, too.

thethinker said...

I'm glad that they no longer put candy in shoes. Seems a bit disgusting to me.

Now I'm craving chocolate.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Come on over. I'll share.

I was turned off when I learned how wine was made. Feet and candy don't mix, either.

MsLittlePea said...

I came back to read this because I've read a book about this before. It makes sense. I love all that stuff.

Oh chocolate. We need to find a way to make up some more holidays in which chocolate is involved.....

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Sweet Pea,

St. Chocolate's Day, a sliding holiday that can be celebrated whenever you really need to.

furiousBall said...

So surprising my wife with jellybeans between my toes really was a bad move?

They were gourmet jellybeans.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Hard call. Toes vs, GOURMET jelly beans.

Flip waxed the kitchen floor yesterday. I appreciate it, but the product gave me a violent headache.

Ya know what I'm sayin'?

velvet girl said...

I always wondered if Easter was just another ancient holiday hijacked by the Christians (like Christmas), but never got around to looking it up. Thank you for the answer, oh wise one!

Monsieur Lapin brings toys to our kids because of the milk allergy thing. No chocolate bunnies here. Sigh.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Toys are healthier than candy anyway.

Yup, Christianity is a brilliant opportunist, hijacking pagan holidays right and left. And it has been one of the most successful such endeavors of all time.

Just let me keep my goddess-worshiping whoopee festivals and I'll follow you anywhere. God knows it's an ingenious marketing ploy.

katrice said...

This was very insightful!

I know I am alone, but I hate all Easter candy. Put it in my shoes all you want. I'm not eating it.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I don't either, except for gourmet jellybeans. Unless they've been in somebody's shoe, of course, in which case, forget them, too.