Peter Cottontail: We all know the Easter Bunny as that little guy who comes early in the morning on Easter Sunday to bring baskets filled with chocolates and candy to good little boys and girls.
The bunny was chosen as the icon because the rabbit is known for its fertility and is, therefore, the symbol of “new life.”
Although no one knows for sure exactly what the Easter Rabbit’s origins are, it’s strongly suspected that it came to America in the 1700s and settled in PA with German Immigrants. That’s because the Germans already had a similar tradition, called “Osterhase,” where kids would make nests for a hare to lay her colorful eggs. The Easter Basket is thought to symbolize the “nest.”
Eggs: Also a symbol of new life, decorated Easter Eggs date back almost 700 years. It’s thought that, since eggs were a forbidden food during the Lenten Season (the 40-day period before Easter), people would decorate them to end the period of fasting and then eat them to celebrate on Easter Sunday. Today, chocolate eggs are the most popular, but another egg-shaped candy is running a close second—the jelly bean; in fact, The National Confectioner’s Association estimates 16 billion jelly beans are made in this country every year just for Easter.
Easter Parade: New York City probably has the most famous one, and that dates back to the mid-1800s when people would attend various religious institutions on Fifth Avenue and then stroll up and down the avenue to show off their attire. The tradition gained even more popularity in 1948 when the film, Easter Parade, with the title song that says, “In your Easter bonnet with all the frills upon it.”
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