Oh, That Easter Bunny!
Historical postcards are among the many images that the Library’s Digital Gallery collects. And I’ve found a gold mine of Easter Bunny cards. How easily does this secular holiday figure fit into our pop culture – you can see just by the types of scenes depicted on these cards. Fertility is one obvious clue to the pagan origins of the Easter Bunny, since rabbits generally have large litters. But why are these furry mammals hauling around chicken eggs? Another fertility symbol, a harbinger of new life. The use of a rabbit or hare for an Easter symbol may have started in Germany. Certainly, the Germans were the first people to make a sweet Easter Bunny, starting with pastry and sugar before moving on to chocolate. The Easter Bunny made it to America courtesy of Pennsylvania Dutch children who sang the praises of the “Oschter Haws” and the colored eggs he’d leave behind for lucky people to find. The next step was the creation of Easter baskets to hold goodies… Children’s stories abound about the doings of the Easter Bunny. Most of them feature his giving out of eggs. Most valuable of all Easter eggs are the fabulous creations of Faberge, made for the ill-fated last Russian Czar and his family. Should you encounter an Easter Bunny this weekend, be sure to show some respect. After all, I can tell you personally that there’s nothing worse than disapproving rabbits. p.s. My rabbits, Beau and Jack, wish everyone a good Rabbit Day. Should any of you feel a desire to learn more about rabbits as companion animals, check out the House Rabbit Society.