Have you ever wondered what the connection is between rabbits and the Christian celebration of the resurrection of Jesus at Easter? The link is discussed by Mark Lee Abraham, a veterinarian, online at Huffington Post, which also includes timely tips on caring for a house rabbit. Here are some highlights of the article…
This Easter weekend, most of us will be excitedly looking forward to receiving some chocolate, usually in the shape of an egg or perhaps even a bunny. But how did the rabbit become so inextricably linked with Easter traditions?
It’s thought that the hunt for Easter eggs pre-dates any association with the rabbit. But as a result of excited children searching for their precious eggs in long grass and inadvertently flushing out scared rabbits, these stories of rabbits leaving eggs behind began.
Historically, rabbits, hares and eggs were pagan fertility symbols signifying spring and new life, with Eostre the pagan goddess usually depicted with a symbolic animal, the hare; able to lay colourful eggs to entertain eager children. So when the Christians moved into pagan territories, they decided that these coloured eggs weren’t harmful, adopting the custom into their own festivities.
Furthermore, German settlers arriving in the USA in the 18th Century brought with them the legend of ‘Oschter Haws’, the white Easter Hare. Children would behave themselves, believing that if they were good, Oschter Haws would lay colourful eggs for them in nests made with their favourite hat or bonnet and placed out in the barn.
By the 19th century, the Easter Hare had become the Easter Rabbit, and American families would later also include the nest tradition – adding baskets, chocolates, and occasionally money. Like most stateside traditions, they soon made their way over to our shores.
The number of pet rabbits in the UK has been increasing for years, with fully litter-trained house rabbits now hugely popular nationwide. Sadly, like all cute, fluffy pets, many rabbits are impulse buys or gifts – so if you’re considering buying a real-life Easter bunny, be prepared for years of looking after it responsibly.
To read the complete article, please go to http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/marc-lee-abraham/easter-bunny_b_5158900.html?utm_hp_ref=uk
Of course it is a terrible idea for children to be given a pet rabbit at Easter time. A house rabbit is a ten-year commitment, and rabbits are not the easy-care, entry-level pet despite what some disreputable pet shop clerks may claim. We support the “Make Mine Chocolate” campaign, and here is a link to their website: http://www.makeminechocolate.org/