Where Did the Easter Bunny Come From?

Thank the Germans—maybe

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 24, 2011 9:18 AM CDT

(Newser) – Take a break from the Cadbury Cream Eggs and study up on a little Easter trivia. Namely: Why is there an Easter Bunny? And why does said bunny hide eggs? The San Jose Mercury News takes a look at the furry creature's fuzzy origins. Some say he hopped on to the scene in 13th-century Germany, where Eostre, the goddess of spring and the dawn, was celebrated—and depicted as a beautiful maiden toting a basket of eggs (dyed red) and two baby hares.

Others says the idea of giving out eggs in springtime has even more ancient origins—among the Persians—while bunnies appeared in Celtic lore. Regardless, there's a good chance the bunny's roots are cloaked in pagan fertility rituals. He likely first came on to the US scene in the 1700s, imported by German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country. He officially reached star status in 1878, when, under the eye of Rutherford B. Hayes, the first White House Easter Egg Roll took place.

Barack Obama speaks as the Easter Bunny looks on during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 13, 2009.
Barack Obama speaks as the Easter Bunny looks on during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 13, 2009.   (Getty Images)
The Easter Bunny looks out from the Truman Balcony during the Annual Easter Egg Roll on April 5, 2010 on the South Lawn of the White House  in Washington, DC.
The Easter Bunny looks out from the Truman Balcony during the Annual Easter Egg Roll on April 5, 2010 on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC.   (Getty Images)
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