The Easter Bunny (also called Easter Bunny or Easter Hare) is a folkloric figure and Easter symbol, depicted as a rabbit bringing Easter eggs. Originally from the German Lucomanoss, the “Easter Hare” had the original role of a judge, evaluating whether the children were good or disobedient in the behavior at the beginning of the Eastertide season. The Easter Bunny is occasionally depicted in clothing. In the legend, the creature carries colorful eggs in its basket, candies, and occasionally also toys for the children’s homes, and as such shows similarities with Santa Claus or Christkind, as both bring gifts to the children in the night before their respective holidays. The custom was first mentioned in the Georg Franck von Franckenau of Ovis PASCH (‘ In the Easter Eggs ‘) in 1682, referring to a German tradition of an Easter hare bringing Easter eggs to the children.
The hare was a popular motif in medieval church art. In ancient times it was widely believed (as for Pliny, Plutarch, Filostratus and Aelian) that the hare was hermaphrodite. The idea that a hare could breed without loss of virginity led to an association with the Virgin Mary, with hares that occasionally occur in enlightened manuscripts and paintings of the Northern Europe of the Virgin and Child Christ. It may also have been associated with the Holy Trinity, as in the motive of three Lias. Eggs, like rabbits and hares, are ancient fertility symbols. Since the birds lay eggs and rabbits and hares give birth to the large litters in the early spring, these have become symbols of the ever-increasing fertility of the Earth at the vernal equinox.
Rabbits and hares are prolific creators. The female Haras can conceive a second litter of offspring while they are still pregnant with the first. This phenomenon is known as a superfeta. Lagomorphs mature sexually at an early age and may give birth to various litters per year (hence the saying, “the breed as rabbits ” or “the race as Bunnies “). Therefore, it is not surprising that rabbits and hares become fertility symbols, or that their spring-mating clowns have to enter the Paschal folklore.