This week’s Easter-themed Keepers’ Corner explores the origins of the Easter bunny.
Easter is a key part of the Christian calendar celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ after the crucifixion. However, some imagery commonly associated with Easter may seem at odds with the biblical account, the Easter Bunny for one. While there is no mention of rabbits in the bible some researchers point to depictions of the Virgin Mary that feature rabbits. However, pagan traditions are also at play here. The name Easter is derived from the Germanic goddess of spring, Eostra, who, according to the early English monk, the Venerable Bede, was celebrated at the spring equinox. This was an important part of the pagan calendar, celebrating the change from longer nights to longer days and seen as the ‘rebirth’ of nature after the cold, dark winter. So, where do the bunnies come in? The goddess Eostra is commonly associated with a sacred hare and so it would seem that our long-eared Eastertide friend was a hare rather than a rabbit.
The image is of a Hare – Spot the difference between rabbits and hares in the Discover Bucks Wildlife Gallery
Next week’s Keepers’ Corner looks at an Easter egg holder in the shape of a motorcar!