Where did the Easter Bunny Come From? Germany, of Course!


Have you ever wondered “where did the Easter Bunny come from?” The whole story of rabbits bringing eggs overnight doesn’t really make sense on the face of it… Rabbits don’t lay eggs after all… so it’s not exactly logical. It turns out that there is a very sweet story, almost a Fairy Tale,  associated with the origins of the Easter bunny and it all starts in Germany, with a Duchess and a gift.

where did easter bunny originate

Where did the Easter Bunny come from?

According to legend, a few hundred years ago the Duchess Rosilinda von Lindenberg had to flee from her home with her children and a servant, to hide from war on her land. They were able to find shelter in a small mining village in the mountains. The poor villagers didn’t have much, but they shared what they had. Because the village was so isolated, they had never even heard of chickens that would produce eggs!

The Duchess wanted to do something to help the kind villagers who sheltered them, so when she sent her servant to get news from her husband about the war, she also instructed him to bring back chickens. Within a week he was back with a whole cage full of live, egg producing chickens.

The Duchess gathered the eggs and saved them until she had enough, then she prepared a feast for the housewives in the village, serving the eggs in a number of different ways… to teach them what to do with this new food. Then she gave the chickens to the villagers.

When Easter came, she wanted to give something special to the children, but she didn’t have any treats. Eggs would be the gift, since she reasoned “an egg is the first gift of the reviving Spring”. To make them special, she boiled the eggs in with mosses and roots to give them color. On Easter Sunday, she had the small children build nests in the woods from sticks and moss… each had their own. Then they went in the house for a feast. After the feast, the children went to the woods to look at their nest; in each one they found five beautiful colored eggs, one with a rhyme written on it.

where did easter bunny originate
Image from Fritz Osterhase and Sohn

The children were so excited, and wondered how the hens could lay such lovely eggs! Then one little girl said, oh no! it wasn’t the hens, it must have been the little hare that sprang out of the juniper bush when I wanted to build my nest there”. All the kids laughed, and agreed, and believed that it must have been the hare.

When the Duchess was finally able to return to her home, she kept the tradition of giving the village children a feast of eggs on Easter Sunday.

The tradition spread throughout Germany. Children would prepare nests to see what the little hare would bring. Over time, candy and sugar eggs were found, as well as colored hens eggs.

Where did Easter Bunny originate in the Americas?

When Germans began emigrating to America, and especially Pennsylvania,  in the 1700s, they brought the tradition of the Osterhase (Easter Rabbit) with them. And much like the Christmas Tree… the tradition spread across the country, until it the Easter Bunny became a part of American Cultural Traditions.

In Texas, my friend Chuck grew up with the story of the Easter nest. A tradition celebrated by his German family. Read the story here. 

Write to the Easter Bunny!

Your child can write a letter to the Osterhase (Easter Bunny( in Germany… Hansi Hase… and get a letter BACK!! Find out more information here.

Click HERE –>For More German Easter Facts



where did easter bunny originate


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