Apr 08 2012

Why the Easter Bunny is my hero

Today is Easter Sunday. While many families are spending the day together, I have chosen to catch up on some of my creative projects — and reflect.

When I was a kid, I loved Easter Sunday. The reason I loved Easter more than any other day of the year had nothing whatsoever to do with some ancient guy named Jesus supposedly being brought back from the dead. It had absolutely nothing to do with finding meaning or anything deep. Nope. It had everything to do with something much more important. Something that would impact me profoundly for the rest of my life.

The Easter Bunny.

 

 

 

 

Every Easter morning, my siblings and I would wake up early to hunt for the little chocolate eggs wrapped in colourful foil hidden behind and underneath furniture, and in our older home’s nooks and crannies. Sometimes they could be found outside on the ground in a basket next to a tree. The night before the “Great Event,” I would lie in bed imagining what the Easter Bunny looked like. I had it in my mind the oversized rabbit was a “he,” probably due to the song Peter Cottontail and the mass marketing of Peter Rabbit. However, I was perplexed about how this male rabbit could lay eggs. I mean, he is a guy after all!

Then there was the tradition of dying eggs. Sometimes we would dip cold, smelly, boiled eggs in food dyes. For the Ukrainian Easter holiday (my mother is Ukrainian-Canadian), I would get together with my grandmother (Baba) and we would make pysanky — dying the eggs red and writing on them with beeswax in the traditional Eastern Christian Orthodox way. It was a terrific excuse for me to spend time with my grandmother, who would teach me how to speak Ukrainian and sternly correct me when I would say, ahem, phrases my Great uncles taught me that, unbeknownst to me, must not be repeated – especially to a grandmother. I digress.

 

 

 

 

 

Now, I confess: I am not religious. Even though I grew up in a Christian household, as an adult with my own opinions and values, I decided years ago to not subscribe to any religious group. Looking back, I have never really felt like I fit in anywhere, in any group, including religious groups. I respect all the great religions and other people’s beliefs. But, for me, I find wisdom and love, and talk to God when I want to, not by kneeling on a pew, but when I tune into to my heart and soul.

Well, okay, and the Easter Bunny.

So where did this idea of rabbits and eggs at Easter come from?

Easter folklore is intriguing. If you study it, you will discover that hares and eggs are associated with fertility from the time of antiquity. In medieval Christianity, the hare was symbolic for, get this, a hermaphrodite. So how on Earth did we ever get the idea that rabbits (male bunnies) lay eggs? It’s a bit of a stretch, don’t you think?

Well, all I know is that as a kid, I liked it. It didn’t need to have any deep meaning. It was simply this: fun. Thanks to the Easter Bunny — my hero.

Who is YOUR hero?

 

© Shannon Skinner 2012


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