Hippity hop!April 6, 2012
It seems like just a day or so ago we were talking about Christmas and New Year’s Resolutions. Now its time to put the winter coats and boots back in the closet. Spring is in the air! You’ve survived those silly April Fool’s Day pranks and are no doubt looking forward to filling up up on Reese’s peanut butter eggs (my favorite) and jelly beans.
That’s all well and good, but do you know why our baskets of delights are delivered by a bunny on Easter morning?
Allow me to correct myself firstly and fore mostly: The Easter bunny is actually not a bunny at all. It’s actually a hare.
Hares were a widely used church motif in medieval times because it was believed at that time that they could reproduce without losing their virginity. A lot of Roman historians and scientists believed that hares were hermaphrodites, meaning they had both male and female reproductive organs, and this belief carried on for quite some time, leading to their association with the Virgin Mary. They were also used in a circular motif appearing in various religious sites in Western Europe and a few places in the Middle East and Asia, like the one below, called Dreihasenfenster, or ‘Window of Three Hares’ in Paderborn Cathedral in Paderborn, Germany.
This motif represents the Trinity in Christianity, but there are a number of those mystical associations it symbolizes, including fertility and the lunar cycle.
Hares, and their rabbit brethren, have long been associated with spring and the birth of new life. Like birds, they are known to have large litters early in the season. This ancient association with the Vernal Equinox is why our Easter celebrations include a bunny that delivers eggs on Sunday morning.
Nobody knows why we started decorating eggs. Some traditions include dying the hard boiled egg red or green, symbolizing the blood of Jesus Christ or the blooming of new plant life. We do know that Catholics were not allowed to eat eggs during Lent, which explains their popularity during the holiday. Other sects of Christianity who didn’t want to participate in fasting still wanted to eat decorated eggs and so the tradition continued.
Have a safe and Happy Easter weekend!This entry was posted in Fun Stuff. Bookmark the permalink. ← Exercise While Commuting A little support goes a long way →
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