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The
Easter
Bunny

Our friend
the Easter Bunny
is borne of ancient universal roots
and customs,
concerned with
the most basic
aspects of life.

Hopping Down
The Bunny Trail

Easter Bunny's
Legacy

Easter is actually a lunar festival rather than a solar event. The celebration of Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox (and if said full moon falls on a Sunday, then Easter is the Sunday after).


*
Eostre (pronounced East-ra) is the Anglo-Saxon goddess of the dawn, from whom "East" and "Easter" got their names. As the fertility goddess of the Northern European peoples, the invading Romans merged Eostre's spring legend with Christianity, to coincide with the time of Christ's resurrection.

In German mythology, she is also the goddess Ostara, the maiden, and celebrated at the Equninox when night and day are equal and balanced. Interestingly, the word "estrus" is also derived from Eostre, for her consort was a rabbit, also a symbol of fertility! We can always use this time to embrace Eostre's energy and look forward to new ideas, new jobs, new goals.

According to legend, Eostre became angry with the rabbit and cast it into the heavens. Today we can see the constellation Lepus the Hare, at the feet of Orion.

Eostre gave Lepus the gift of laying eggs once a year, which, combined with the celebration of Christ's resurrection, is why we have the modern day tradition with the Easter Bunny delivering Easter eggs.

From the most ancient times, the goddess Eostre was the measurer of time. Our measurer of time is the moon, chosen over the Sun, so the lunar month of 28 days (four weeks of seven days each) gives 13 periods in 364 days, equivalent to the solar year of 52 weeks.

The moon may then be another name for Eostre, and its name comes from the Sanskrit word "mas" ~ from ma, to measure ~ and was masculine. Because the measurement of time is an active process, the waxing and full moon was considered male, while the waning and new moon were said to be female.

In mythology, gods and goddesses were androgynous and their sex depended upon what was needed in the moment. And, it was believed that a rabbit could change its sex ~ like the moon.

How do these revelations about our lunar measurer further relate to the Easter Bunny? A clue to the answer is found within the paintings and fables of artists and storytellers of the Far East. These artists often painted the moon with rabbits racing across its face. The Chinese, in particular, have represented the moon as a rabbit pounding rice in a mortar.

According to tradition, the Jade Rabbit pounds out medicine for the gods with the lady Ch'ang-e. Others say that the Jade Rabbit is a shape assumed by Ch'ang-e herself.

The dark areas to the top of the full moon
can be construed as the figure of a rabbit.
The animal's ears point to the upper right,
while at the left are two large circular areas
representing its head and body.

There are even more explanations accounting for the rabbit/moon connection. One is that the bunny is nocturnal and feeds by night; another is that the rabbit's gestation period is one month long.

Hares are born with their eyes open, so the Egyptians called the hare "Un," which meant open, to open, the opener. Un also meant period. Thus the rabbit became a symbol for the lunar cycle. The hare as "opener" symbolized the new year at Easter, fertility, and the beginning of new life.

The Rabbit's association with the moon is explained by this story.

Rabbit in the Moon

Once upon a time, a Monkey, a Rabbit, and a Fox lived together as friends. During the day they frolicked on the mountain; at night they went back to the forest.

As the years passed Indra, the Lord of Heaven, became curious and wanted to see if rumors of their friendship were true. He went to them disguised as an old wanderer, "I have traveled through mountains and valleys and I am weak and tired," he stated. "Could you give me something to eat?"

Immediately, the Monkey departed to gather nuts. After returning, he presented the food to the wanderer; the Fox brought an offering from his Fish trap in the river. The Rabbit ran through the fields, searching desperately for something to offer. When he returned with nothing, the Monkey and the Fox teased him endlessly.

Depressed and discouraged, the little Rabbit asked the Monkey to gather some wood and the Fox to set fire to it. Suddenly, the little rabbit said, "Please eat me," and threw himself into the flames.

The wanderer, honored and humbled by the sacrifice, began to weep. Then, he proclaimed, "All of you deserve praise, for your offerings were kind and thoughtful. This little Rabbit, however, has displayed true selflessness with his sacrifice."

As the other animals watched, the wanderer revealed himself as a god, restoring the Rabbit to his original form and taking the little body to heaven to be buried in the palace of the moon.

 

 

History of the
Easter Bunny

 

More on
The Easter Bunny

 

The Easter Bunny ~
Rabbit or Hare?

 

Australia's Easter Bunny
Bilby

Delicious Idea!
Chocolate Bilbies

 

Read more about
Easter Mythology

 

Find in the Heavens
Bunny's Footprints

Learn more about
The Night Sky

and ...

Site where you can email the Easter Bunny, EasterBunnys.net

Site where you can send free Easter e-cards, Easter-Greetings.net

Site with more free Easter e-cards, Easter-Cards.com

Additional Easter e-cards, jokes, recipes and links at Easter-ecards.com

Even more free Easter e-cards at Easter-egreetings.com

Easter e-cards, activities, screensavers, coloring pages at americangreetings.com

Site with Easter recipes, jokes, free Easter e-cards
and more on Easter's history and mythology, 101 Easter

 

*Graphic credit: "Eostre" painting
© http://hranajanto.com, used with permission of the artist

 

Bunny Hollow