By Lily Barrow

Easter – a time full of egg hunts and bunnies. But why bunnies and eggs? The easter bunny was brought to America in the 1700s by German immigrants who were settling in Pennsylvania. Along with them, they brought their tradition of an egg laying hare or bunny called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws.” Their children made nests in which this creature could lay its colored eggs. Hence the beginning of easter eggs as well. Soon the custom spread across the U.S. and the fabled rabbits Easter morning surprises expanded to incorporate chocolate and other types of candy and gifts, while decorated baskets replaced nests. Also, the children often left out carrots for the famous “Easter Bunny” in case he got hungry from all of his hopping.

As for the eggs, decorating them for Easter is a tradition that dates back to at least the 13th century, according to some sources. One explanation for this custom is that eggs were formerly a forbidden food during the Lenten season, also known as Lent, so people would paint and decorate them to mark the end of the period of penance and fasting, then eat them on Easter as a celebration. These eggs soon evolved from boiled eggs to the sparkly plastics eggs we have today. These eggs range in all shapes, colors, and sizes. The largest Easter egg ever made was over 25 feet high and weighed over 8,000 pounds. It was built out of chocolate and marshmallow and supported by an internal steel frame!

In all, the traditions for the Easter we all know and love actually didn’t originate in the United States. But that doesn’t mean they’re not ours. These traditions have evolved from bunnies and eggs to the colorful baskets and sparkly eggs we have today.