I shot the Easter Bunny
I Shot the Easter Bunny
Thursday, I was sitting on the living floor at our house with Lady M (age 4). Between us we had close to 100 plastic Easter Eggs to fill for the egg hunt at our house on Sunday. Big Sister, Lady L, (age 10) was sitting across the room taking in the scene of me explaining to M. how to open the plastic egg, chose the candy that would fit and close the egg with a snap sound. *No longer are plastic eggs all one size fits all… they come in tiny, little, medium and extra-large. They are not just egg shaped anymore, there are bunny’s with ears, ducks, dogs, and other various assortment of the Hero Eggs and the Princess Eggs. So naturally not all ‘Easter Candy’ fits in every egg.
It was about this time that Lady L said, “Oma, you do believe in the Easter Bunny, don’t you? (Earlier I had made mention of Bampa and I hiding the eggs for the hunt.) . . . . Silence from me as I look at her mother.
My eyes swing back across the room as I said to her, “Do you really believe a big white rabbit hops into your yard and leaves eggs?”
She gives me her best stare down, “Yes, don’t you?”
I felt the longest pause in my entire life as I closed my eyes and knew I could not lie about believing in a huge white bunny with plastic eggs stuffed with candy…and that was NOTHING about the true meaning of Easter. Before me swam all my memories of Easter as a child, and Easter with my children as I was the Mom… and now here I am staring down a 10 year granddaughter with her chin in the air staring me back down.
I let out the breath I had been holding and said “NO”.
LONG SILENCE… and her mother said, “Lady L, we have to go.”
What I did not know, is as they drove away her mother proceeded to finally cross the line into the TRUTH… about ALL OF IT. The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy, The Disney Pixie Dust and ….wait for it…. SANTA CLAUS.
Two hours later as they came back to pick up Lady M, L walks in head held high with that knowing look of wisdom. She shakes her head up and down and raises her eyebrows at me and said, “I know it all.”
My head swung to her mother,… “ALL?” Stacey Beth shrugged her shoulders and said “Yep.”
I truly did not mean to shoot down the Easter Bunny, and after a sleepless night of feeling I had created the nudge to end the lies… Stacey told me Larry was disappointed. He was not ready for her to grow up past this. I had to look up where the bunny came from… and I did.
I told Stacey today I had researched where the ‘bunny’ came from because it is not part of our faith. I found it is part of our German heritage. Seems like the German people brought the tradition with them to the United States in the 1700’s. Prior to Christianity reaching Germany, the people there had pagan celebrations to honor the goddess of dawn and spring, and the renewal of life and fertility. She was referred to as “Eastre or Oestre or Ostara… and she was associated with the symbol of the rabbit. In the spring, rabbits are known to be rapid breeders, so the concept of an “Easter Bunny” grew from this. The legend from the Germans was that Eastre came late one year bringing spring… and the long winter froze a bird in the snow. Eastre took pity on the bird and turned her into a snow white hare who could lay multicolored eggs one day each year. *Yes, bunnies do not lay eggs.
When the Christian religion began to spread, missionaries would often incorporate pagan ideas into Christian holidays. (WHY? Wasn’t Jesus enough? Obviously not.) “Oschter Haws” (Easter Hare) was a rabbit that laid colored eggs as gifts for well-behaved children. Children from the Netherlands used their hats as a nest hoping Oschter Haws would leave them colored eggs.
Throughout early history, painters would often include in a painting, a rabbit with the Virgin Mary. One example is Madonna of the Rabbit, an oil painting by Titian dated 1530. It hangs in the Louvre in Paris. The rabbit is a symbol of fertility and the white color signifies Mary’s purity and the mystery of the incarnation. It is also a symbol of her virginity. *Female rabbits and hares can conceive a second litter of offspring while still pregnant with the first, resulting in them being able to give birth seemingly without having been impregnated.
Since the mid 1800’s, the Christian holiday of Easter, which honors and celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, has gained secular acceptance here in the United States. There are parades, parties, and elaborate egg hunts. While Easter traditions vary, most agree with the Easter Bunny. (Not me)
I just do not remember leading my children on about a “bunny”. I remember dyeing eggs for our baskets and yes, I remember chocolate and a small amount of candy in the basket. *I still have my original Easter basket. It is 65 years old. When my children were young, I know we dyed eggs, and we hunted eggs at the church, but I do not remember treating Easter like Christmas with Santa Claus. In fact, my children grew up with Saint Nicholas on the sixth of December. Santa Claus came with one big gift, but we opened family gifts on Christmas Eve. Gifts were not the main event. Santa Claus dissipated by the time they were seven or eight.
So, I shot the Easter Bunny down for my oldest granddaughter. It truly was not intentional. Easter is about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. According to the Gospel of John in the New Testament, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb where Jesus was buried and found it empty. An angel told her that Jesus had risen. It was also the prophecy of Isaiah in Chapter 53, that the Messiah would be persecuted, die for our sins and rise on the third day. I do not recall the mention of the bunny anywhere in this event.
Easter 2019 will go down as the end of the ‘magic’ ‘lie’ of the Easter Bunny for my oldest granddaughter. I have already been warned by my youngest son, NOT to even ever mention this to the Captain. He is only three… he has many egg hunts ahead of him. Most kids seem to figure out by the age of seven or eight.
I really appreciated the view of this article. The Myth of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny Hoping all my adult children will read this. I don’t want to shoot any more bunnies. BTW… if you like this story…how about the Unicorn Ducks? I have one to tell. See the Snoopy Basket to the right… Four Baby Unicorn Duckies
Have a Blessed Easter tomorrow as we celebrate with joy the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
OMA aka Laurie
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