TheDC explainers: Why and what is the Easter Bunny?

Taylor Bigler Entertainment Editor
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The Easter Bunny is the most nonsensical — and most terrifying — holiday mascot of them all.

The Easter Bunny makes less sense than the Tooth Fairy, isn’t as cool as Santa Claus, and is WAY scarier than a leprechaun. Also, it has absolutely nothing to do with Easter.

Think about it for a second: This a fluffy rabbit that carries a basket of eggs and treats for little kids to eat on Easter Sunday. There are already several things wrong with this concept because a) rabbits don’t lay eggs and b) rabbits don’t have the opposable thumbs necessary to carry a basket.

Also, what do bunnies have ANYTHING to do with Jesus rising from the dead? The answer: nothing.

So, why does the Easter Bunny exist and where the hell did he come from? Allow TheDC to explain.

The origin of the early Easter Bunny can be traced back to 13th century, pre-Christian Germany, according to Discovery.

The rabbit was a symbol of the pagan goddess of fertility, Eostra, because rabbits copulate like, well, rabbits, and there were celebrations held in her honor during the vernal equinox.

After Germany became predominately Roman Catholic in the 15th century, ancient pagan traditions and symbols — like rabbits symbolizing fertility and springtime — started to blur together with Christian ones. The eggs that once symbolized fertility began to be associated with Jesus’ resurrection.

According to The History Channel, the early legend of the “Osterhase” (egg-laying bunny) made its way to America in the 1700s after a large population of Germans emigrated to Pennsylvania. The early Easter Bunny would lay colored eggs in a nest made by little kids.

Eventually, because we are Americans, the Easter Bunny started bringing things like candy and if you have cool parents, $20 bills.

Another theory of why there is a prevalence of eggs during Easter is because eggs were a food that is forbidden during Lent, and so people would go nuts over the eggs when they could finally eat them.

Since actual eggs are no fun to eat, we had to go ahead and invent candy in the shape of eggs so we can eat them by the handful. In the 1930s, jelly beans became associated with Easter in America and now over 16 billion jelly beans are made for the holiday every year, according to The History Channel.

A few decades later, the Just Born candy company invented these chick-shaped sugar balls called Peeps, which people still eat to this day. (Also, how could baby chickens come out of eggs that are laid by a rabbit?! So many questions.) There is now even Peeps-flavored lip balm! This has gotten out of hand.

So, basically, the Easter Bunny has absolutely nothing to do at all with Easter and when you go hunt for eggs you are actually honoring the fact that rabbits have a lot of sex in the spring.

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