The first time the Easter Hare was mentioned in print was in a writing by Georg Franck von Franckenau’s De ovis paschalibus, ‘About Easter Eggs’ in 1682. This folklore originated with the German lutherans.
The Easter Hare brought colored eggs, candy, and sometimes toys in a basket to those good children at Eastertide.
Yet historically, the forerunner of the Easter Hare lore can be traced all the way back to around 1500 in the poem Blowbol’s Test.
“Thanne pey begyn to swere and to stare, And be as braynies as a Marshe hare.
Which of course translates to the old saying, “Mad as a March hare!” Our most adored western cultural memory of this lore is embraced in the 1865 story, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll.
I don’t recall remembering that in Europe it’s the Easter Hare, and here it’s the Easter Rabbit.
In the De Ratione Temporum by the Venerable Bede (672 - 735 CE) it's said that Easter was named after the Great Mother Goddess Eostre (or Eastre) of the Saxon people in Northern Europe. I love the history of Easter both christian and pagan. It's a fascinating tapestry of our human story and dates back to the beginning of time.
As a kid I remember Easter Egg Hunts, the 1949 song Here Comes Peter Cottontail, festive Easter dinners and going to church for Easter Service in a new outfit and shoes. Mom made us 3 boys matching sport shirts 5 or 6 of those years. And of course, we watched the 1948 musical movie The Easter Parade starring Judy Garland and Fred Astaire many times.
It was interesting this day to discover the wonderful display with the Easter Bunny at Fireworks Gallery in Westfield Southcenter this month. There was a lull in the lunchtime hustle bustle at the mall and it was like I happened by while he was in a moment of quiet reflection. Or was that me?