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On the Origins of the Easter Bunny

April 23, 2011

Disclaimer:

I hereby absolve myself of any lost innocence that results from reading this post.

*****

I wasn’t sure how the Easter Bunny fit into Easter.

After all, it’s an invisible rabbit that hops around the world in a single night distributing eggs. I consulted Wikipedia, as I often do when the world confounds me. According to that highly academic source, the Easter Bunny/Hare originated in the former Holy Roman Empire, and seems to have been linked to Easter by virtue of the fact that rabbits are particularly blessed with fecundity (which makes me wonder if the Easter Bunny ever stops to… no, I can’t go on). So we have a symbol of fertility distributing more symbols of fertility (love those eggs) to innocent little boys and girls.

While this explanation was amusing, it wasn’t entirely satisfying.

I embarked on some original research. Following a hunch, I looked at the jackalope. Hey, with the Easter Bunny’s similarity to Santa, it made sense that it might be the product of a fecund rabbit and a reindeer.  Sure enough, the trail turned warm, albeit in an unexpected way: while jackalopes probably aren’t part reindeer, they might be part killer rabbit.

The most famous killer rabbit, of course, is the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog.

 

Yes, that Killer Rabbit: the one slain by King Arthur and the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.

 

 

See a similarity?

My theory, then, is that the present-day Easter Bunny is a descendent of the original Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog. The objects we’ve been interpreting as eggs of fertility, are in fact his attempts to recreate the Holy Hand Grenade, thus exacting ironic vengeance on humanity for killing his illustrious forebear.

Of course, this raises the question: why chocolate eggs? Why so colourful?

Alas, I fear it may be more mis-interpretation on our part. Doubtless, Easter Bunnies of yore used candy to lure small children near the cunningly-hidden grenades. Bright colours only added to the enticement. Placid adults, noticing this, assumed a connection between the pretty egg-shaped objects and appearance of candy (bunnies aren’t good at wiring- the grenades don’t go off very often) . There is a connection, just not the one we thought.

And so, while you’re hunting for eggs this weekend… you might want to find a long, long stick and poke them before picking them up.

-Arvik

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12 comments

  1. We had a similar discussion a few days ago . . . Why baskets? Why bunnies? Why eggs? Why jelly beans? Why chocolate?

    Except for the last question, which has a rather self-evident answer, we came up as empty-handed as slow-moving, near-sighted youngsters at an Easter Egg hunt populated by eagle-eyed marathon runners.

    Thanks for shedding some light on this ancient mystery.


  2. […] On the Origins of the Easter Bunny […]


  3. LOL! Seriously,if I see a giant rabbit walking around with a big basket of eggs, I probably would lock myself into a padded room anyway. 😉


  4. […] Bunny have to be a he? For some humorous takes on the Easter Bunny, check out these posts from Arvik and Spirit Lights the […]


  5. Love it! Thanks for the enlightenment!

    BTW: What’s the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow, what is the capitol of Assyria, and what is your favorite color?


    • 38.62 km/h (European swallow), Assur, Nineveh, or Caleh (depending on who you ask), and blue.
      😀


      • Well a European swallow, may-be, but not an African swallow – that’s my point!

        Too bad, anyway, because I asked for the capiTOL not the capiTAL! So long! Oh, before you fall into the chasm, I don’t believe blue is your favorite color! Ta-ta!


      • Nooooo! 😛


      • How I love that movie – our sons were practically raised on it, and they know the whole script by heart and can give it back to you – with perfect vocal imitation! They are in their 30’s now. . .


  6. the original easter eggs were hard boiled and the shells dyed (edible dye) to pretty colours as part of breaking the fast after mourning the desth of Jesus.

    Chocolate ones was some smart idea to sell chcocolate and the pretty paper -(used to be) was to make them attractive.

    Personally I’d prefer a nice solid slab of dark chocolate (the eggs have too much air)


  7. […] Disclaimer: I hereby absolve myself of any lost innocence that results from reading this post. ***** I wasn't sure how the Easter Bunny fit into Easter. After all, it's an invisible rabbit that hops around the world in a single night distributing eggs. I consulted Wikipedia, as I often do when the world confounds me. According to that highly academic source, the Easter Bunny/Hare originated in the former Holy Roman Empire, and seems to have been … Read More […]


  8. Ahaha! Monty Python is the best show ever!
    My favorite color..purple–I mean blue!
    *falls into chasm*
    I will never think about the Easter season the same way again. Thanks for the enlightenment! 🙂



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