History of Ralph's Rabbit Ranch

History of Ralph's Rabbit Ranch

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Where the Heck Did Those Darn Easter Bunnies Come From?

Just in case you are wondering Germany is considered the birthplace of the concept of Easter Bunny.  The very first (edible) Easter Bunnies were made in Germany during the early 1800's. 

They were initially baked pastry bunnies that came with a few gummy candies shaped like eggs (which by the way is where we get the idea of jelly beans from). Parents were encourage to place these edible rabbit treats in straw nests and hide them in secluded areas throughout the house and outside in the garden - weather permitting - for their children to find. 

Now even more interesting is the fact that in ancient Egypt, the rabbit was recognized as a symbol of fertility and renewal. This Egyptian belief of the rabbit quickly spread to the Greeks and then later to the Romans who ultimately shared the idea of the rabbit as the symbol of life throughout their empire and with the rest of Europe.

Surprisingly, about the same time, the Celts and early nomadic hunters of northern Europe began to celebrate their own very special festival – the festival of Eastre.  Eastre {a pagan} goddess associated with the beginning of springtime. Eastre’s symbol just so happened to be the rabbit - the most fertile animal known to man and symbol of constant new life.

Now when Europeans emigrated to Australia they quickly found there were no rabbits on their new continent and immediately had them brought over from Europe to raise - rabbits would ensure a healthy and steady supply of fresh meat during the harsh Australian winters.

The rabbits brought into Australia did their rabbit duty and began to producing new rabbits - to many rabbits. So many in fact that they became a significant problem for the Australian ranchers and farmers. So the Australian people with the approval of the government began a systematic program to eradicate the large herds of wild rabbits roaming the Australian outback.

Unfortunately having the rabbit as the symbol of the Easter celebration was not a good idea for may Australians - and who felt bad about all the rabbit killing taking place.  So the Australian people created a new symbol for Easter - the Bilby.  The Bilby is an endangered Australian animal that looks similar to a rabbit it. 

Therefore in today in Australia you will find plenty of chocolate Easter Bilby candies and all kinds of Easter Bilby cards – but no Chocolate Easter Bunnies no mention of the Easter Bunny!
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