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Easter Bunny and Colored Eggs - Traditions and Origins

History and origins of holidays are a special interest for Phyllis. She loves to decorate for holidays in traditional fashion.

Easter Bunny and Colored Eggs

Easter Morning

On Easter morning, kids will be seen scampering throughout the yard, gardens, or parks, looking for a basket full of eggs, candy, and maybe some little toys amongst the goodies. Long before the little ones arose from their cozy beds, the Easter Bunny had visited, leaving baskets of colored eggs and treats in them for the children. This is a traditional Christian holiday custom.

A Whole Tree Full of Easter Eggs

Easter Egg Tree in Germany.

Easter Egg Tree in Germany.

Some may wonder and ponder over this custom. Why a bunny for Easter? Let's take a look at the origins of the Easter Bunny and the tradition of colored eggs for this holiday.

The Easter Hare

The bunny as an Easter symbol seems to have its origins in Germany, where it was first mentioned in German writings in the 1500s. German settlers who arrived in the Pennsylvania Dutch country in America during the 1700s introduced the Easter bunny to American folklore.

Both rabbits and eggs have been a symbol of fertility since antiquity. Springtime is also symbolic of new beginnings, new birth. The egg has long been a symbol of the Resurrection - this signifies new birth, for from the egg a bird hatches and the empty shell is symbolic of the empty tomb of Christ.

Rabbits and hares are prolific breeders and if one pays close attention, these critters go through very active rituals in the spring to mate. They run around chasing each other, males fight with other males to become the victor over a chosen female, and all are running hither and thither with great speed and comical antics. They seem to come from everywhere. It is no wonder why the rabbit would have been chosen for the one to bring eggs in the spring for Easter.

The Catholic custom of abstaining from eggs during Lent, caused a massive abundance of eggs at Easter time. Thus the rabbit enters into Easter folklore bringing baskets filled with all the excess eggs.

Beautiful Easter Eggs

Plate of Easter eggs from Czech Republic

Plate of Easter eggs from Czech Republic

About the Easter Egg

Georg Franck von Franckenau (1643 - 1704) was a German physician and botanist. In De ovis paschalibus (About the Easter Egg), he expressed concern over too much egg in the diet. He referred to an Alsace tradition of the Easter Hare delivering eggs on Easter. His publication mentioned the tradition came from Alsace, which was in southwestern Germany until 1639 when most of Alsace was conquered by France. Apparently it was in Alsace and the Upper Rhineland where the origins of this custom began. Both areas were in the Holy Roman Empire at that time.

How did the custom of coloring eggs for Easter come into the picture? Traditionally the eggs were colored red to symbolize the sacrifice Christ gave with his own blood. Often the eggs were colored green to symbolize new foliage emerging after the cold dark months of winter. One way people in early times brought spring into their homes was to boil eggs with the flowers of spring (another symbol of new birth). The eggs took on the color of the flowers.

The Persian culture also has a tradition of egg decorating, which takes place during the spring equinox. This time marks the Persian New Year, and is referred to as <i>Norouz</i>. Family members decorate eggs together and place them in a bowl. Some believe it is from this cultural tradition that the Christian practice originates. In America, some families gather the evening before Easter and color their eggs. The mother or grandmother then place the eggs out for the Bunny to hide along with other goodies.

Originally, in the old countries, children would make nests with grasses in their caps or bonnets and place them in the gardens, in hopes that the Easter Hare would find these little nests and place colored eggs in them. Only those children who had been good received eggs in their nests.

From simple colors of pastel to elaborately decorated art work, colored eggs have become a major part of the Easter tradition.

Traditional red Easter Eggs Symbolize the Blood of Christ

Easter eggs in Bitola, Macedonia.

Easter eggs in Bitola, Macedonia.

Ukrainian Pysanka Easter Eggs

In the Ukrainian culture, pysanka is the traditional method of decorating Easter eggs in batik style designs . This is an amazing form of art using the wax-resist method. Instead of using paints, intricate designs and folk motifs are written on the eggs with beeswax.

Some other countries, like a, Croatia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Russia, also use this method to create beautiful Easter eggs.

This method of decorating eggs most likely was first done prior to the Christian era in Slavic cultures.

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Ukranian Pysanky Easter Eggs

How do you color Easter eggs?

In my family we have always gathered the evening before Easter Sunday to color eggs. The dye recipe has been the same since I can remember - one teaspoon of vinegar and four drops of food coloring per one cup very hot water. When the water has cooled to room temperature, a boiled egg is placed in each cup filled with the dye and left till the egg is the depth of color preferred.

The colors are never very intense with our method, but pretty. I wonder how people get colored eggs that are such rich deep colors and so shiny?

Robert's Tie-Dyed Easter Eggs

Looking for a new and easy way to dye your Easter eggs? The following video from Robert shows you exactly how to tie-dye eggs. Take a look and give it a try. This just may become a new Easter tradition for you and your family.

Tip:Do not throw out old ties. Save them for this project.

© 2015 Phyllis Doyle Burns


Moral Man on March 27, 2021:

The Easter Bunny has both Christian and pagan origins. Theres more than one version. Rankin and Bass have their own versions in three animated specials from the 1970s. They are "Here comes Peter Cottontail, "The First Easter Rabbit,and "The Easter Bunny is comin to town," with each special having a different origin. Peter Cottontail, Stuffy, and Sunny are the names of the Easter Bunny in these three specials.

Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny and the Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams have added to the mystique of the Easter Bunny.

Chocolate Easter Bunnies and Easter Chicks with baskets and eggs are a wonderful tradition and a symbol of spring.

Phyllis Doyle Burns (author) from High desert of Nevada. on March 20, 2016:

Hi Thelma. Yep, Germany has a lot of history on holidays and traditions. Thanks for reading and commenting. Happy Easter to you, Thelma.

Thelma Alberts from Germany on March 20, 2016:

It seems that not only the Christmas tree is originated in Germany but also the Easter bunny and the coloring of the eggs. Thanks for the informations. Happy Easter to you.

Phyllis Doyle Burns (author) from High desert of Nevada. on March 08, 2016:

Hi Theresa (phdast7). Thank you so much - glad you like the article. I love Easter egg decorating and so admire the ones I found pictures of. Gosh, I would love to see the wooden eggs from Poland. I bet they are lovely. I wonder - can you order some online? It would be fun to have some as a collection. You are fortunate to have little ones to color eggs with. My grandchildren are grown up now, but my brother and I still get together to color eggs and make a whole evening of. Hope you and your have a blessed Easter.

Theresa Ast from Atlanta, Georgia on March 08, 2016:

Phyllis, what a great Hub and such lovely decorated eggs - Czechoslovakia, Ukraine, Macedonia. This caught my eye because I have three grandchildren, 9, 11, and 12, and we do eggs together. About 12 years ago I was able to visit Poland (where my father was born) and they have these interesting wooden eggs which are painted and then have incised carvings in them. Wish I had some photographs, and I think I may have given all the little wooden eggs away. :( Have a wonderful Easter. Blessings!

Phyllis Doyle Burns (author) from High desert of Nevada. on April 24, 2015:

Hi Dolores. It must take quite awhile to create one of those beautiful designs on an egg. Some designs are so intricate. Thanks for the visit and comment. Have a great day.

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on April 24, 2015:

Hi Phyllis - I love those beautiful Ukrainian eggs. I once watched a woman working on them and it is, obviously quite a job. I'd never have the patience!

Phyllis Doyle Burns (author) from High desert of Nevada. on April 08, 2015:

Hello Rangoon House. I hope your Easter was marvelous. Thank you so much for reading and commenting on my Easter Bunny and eggs. The many different methods of decorating eggs fascinate me - and now I am off to read your hub on the Faberge Egg. Thanks, again.

AJ from Australia on April 08, 2015:

This is a beautiful history of the Easter Egg. I enjoyed reading and looking at your photographs, especially references to the German history. I hope you had a Happy Easter.

Phyllis Doyle Burns (author) from High desert of Nevada. on April 07, 2015:

Greetings of the season to you, Genna. I have so much fun researching the history of holidays - there are so many things to discover. Thank you so much for you kind comment. I am glad you enjoyed the article.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on April 07, 2015:

Sorry I’m late, Phyllis. Before Easter arrived, I was wondering if ou would publish one of your interesting hubs on the history behind the holiday. And here it is. :-) I love the last answer in the poll: I thought the Easter Bunny colored all the eggs. I have to say that the photo of the eggs from the Czech Republic are so beautiful. There are so many nuanced interpretations of this tradition…you highlighted this so well! An enjoyable and informative article.

Phyllis Doyle Burns (author) from High desert of Nevada. on April 04, 2015:

How delightful to hear from you, colorfulone . haha, guess the Easter Bunny was too busy packing all those baskets.

Have a lovely Easter and thank you so much for reading and commenting.

Susie Lehto from Minnesota on April 04, 2015:

Where have I been, I have had my head buried in the sand I guess.

I thought the Easter Bunny colored the eggss, Phyllis.

Interesting hub. - Happy Easter dear lady!

Phyllis Doyle Burns (author) from High desert of Nevada. on April 03, 2015:

Happy Easter, Jodah, to you and your family. Those photos just amaze me. I wonder how long it takes to decorate those beautiful eggs? I am going to try the silk fabric dye, too. Thank you for reading, commenting and voting.

John Hansen from Australia (Gondwana Land) on April 03, 2015:

Hi Phyllis, what a lovely hub. Great to know the history of Easter and what beautiful photos of eggs. My wife just said she wants to dye some eggs this year and is considering using silk fabric dye. I guess we'll see how it goes. Have a Happy Easter. Voted up.

Phyllis Doyle Burns (author) from High desert of Nevada. on April 02, 2015:

Hi Ann. Thank you for sharing your family Easter traditions - I enjoyed reading it. It is amazing to see how elaborate some of the egg decorations are in the Slavic countries.

Thanks, Ann, for reading and commenting. I appreciate it.

Ann Carr from SW England on April 02, 2015:

We didn't have Easter bunnies when I was little; it seems to have come into Britain more over the last couple of decades. It was just Easter eggs which sometimes had other sweets inside or were empty.

When I had children, I used to make chocolate eggs for them, put Smarties or buttons inside, decorate with ribbon and set each in a coloured tissue-paper nest, maybe with a little yellow chick. Now my younger daughter has taken over the practice.

In France, there are many more bunnies and cockerels (the national emblem) than there are eggs. It's good to see different traditions in each country.

Fascinating information here, Phyllis and lots of lovely photos; a very enjoyable read.


Phyllis Doyle Burns (author) from High desert of Nevada. on April 01, 2015:

You are most welcome, Michael. I am very glad you enjoyed reading it. I like to study other cultures. I appreciate your visit and votes - thank you.

Michael Higgins from Michigan on April 01, 2015:

Thank you for sharing this, Phyllis. I have always been interested in other cultures and this hub was a great read! Voted up!

Phyllis Doyle Burns (author) from High desert of Nevada. on April 01, 2015:

Well, thank you very much, chuckandus6.

Nichol marie from The Country-Side on April 01, 2015:

Very cool hub

Phyllis Doyle Burns (author) from High desert of Nevada. on April 01, 2015:

You are most welcome, Carolyn. Glad you enjoyed it. Thank you.

Carolyn Emerick on April 01, 2015:

Thanks for this great history and colorful photos! Upvoted :-)

Phyllis Doyle Burns (author) from High desert of Nevada. on April 01, 2015:

Hi Miz B. How nice to hear from you. Thank you very much for you lovely comment. We used the crayons, too, or white birthday candles. I just eventually preferred the plain pastel colors. I will give that tie-dye method a try this year - that really intrigues me.

Thanks again for the visit, comment and voting. I appreciate it.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on April 01, 2015:

Phyllis, you always have such wonderful hubs. I love the photos, especially those of the Russian and Slavic type painted eggs. Those people really take their eggs seriously, don't they. The video of the necktie eggs is really neat, too. You wrote:

"Only those children who had been good received eggs in their nests."

I guess that's why I always had to die my own Easter eggs when I was a child. LOL, and yes, we used the same method that you said your family did. After I got older my brother and sister and I experimented with wax designs by using crayons before we put them into the dye. Voted up!

Phyllis Doyle Burns (author) from High desert of Nevada. on April 01, 2015:

Hi Rebecca. You are most welcome. Thank you!

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on April 01, 2015:

Thanks for sharing Easter traditions from different cultures!

Phyllis Doyle Burns (author) from High desert of Nevada. on March 31, 2015:

Hi georgescifo, and thank you for your visit and comment. The tattooed Easter eggs must be lovely. I love to see all the many styles of decorated eggs.

Thanks again.

georgescifo from India on March 31, 2015:

We introduced tattooed Easter eggs in our church for the first time, last year and we got the tattoos from Russia, which one of our Church member managed to get through some of his friends in Russia. It was really a good idea to start the Easter celebrations.

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