Why are rabbits hiding eggs on Easter sundays in the back yard?

By March 31, 2013Germany

Isn’t it a crazy custom to tell the kids, that the Easter rabbit hid some colored eggs, chocolates & gifts in the back yard? This morning I woke up and started wondering, why we came up with this story?  A story, which a lot of companies, like chocolate and decoration business, are very thankful for.

Searching the internet, I learned, that it is for rabbits and eggs being fertility symbols of antiquity. It is at springtime – which starts around the Easter days – when birds lay eggs in their nests. Eggs were forbidden in the Catholic fastening, since they were perceived as “liquid meat”. Since people did not dare to throw food away, they cooked the eggs and kept them in their storage until the fastening was over. Since the eggs became something special during the fastening, people would bless the eggs and therefore color them beautifully.  This tradition even existed 800 years ago, each color expressing a different meaning. Red would be the color of Jesus Christ’s blood, orange symbolized power, ambition and endurance. White was the color of purity and yellow was known as color of enlightenment and wisdom. When fastening was over, people ate eggs in abundance.

Since Rabbits can conceive a second litter of offspring while still pregnant with the first, they are even known as superfetatious. To me, this is a great reason to have them as “fertility” symbols. In several regions the eggs were brought by cranes, storks or even church bells.

Somehow it seems, as if these two different stories of fertility symbols came together in the story of the rabbit bringing the eggs in a basket on its back.

To me the rabbit is the most adorable animal to bring the eggs … and I am curious to check what is in his basket for me this year …

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