Easter Bunny, like the Belsnickel, owes American roots to the Pennsylvania Dutch

 

→ Easter Bunny, like the Belsnickle, owes American roots to the Pa. Dutch – LancasterOnline

The tradition of the “Oschter Haws” – the Easter Bunny – began in Germany as early as the 16th century and was popularized in America by the Pennsylvania Dutch. The symbols of the hare and eggs predate Christianity and were associated with the ancient pagan religions: the hare was symbolic of fertility, and the egg, of rebirth or new life.

The goddess associated with Spring was known as Eostre. Folklore tells a story of Eostre saving a bird whose wings were frozen by transforming into a hare. The hare retained the ability to lay eggs and during the 18th century the Pennsylvania Dutch elaborated on the original theme by telling children that on Easter this Osterhase (Easter hare) would lay colored eggs as gifts for them if they were good.

 
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