Sunday, April 17, 2022

The Easter Platypus

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

Are you sure it was not an Easter Platypus?

Monotremes are mammals that reproduce by laying eggs. Their name comes from Greek and means "single opening," which refers to the fact that they have only one opening for both reproductive and waste removal purposes. 

Mammals that lay eggs are found only in Australia and New Guinea. 

So, what does the Easter Bunny have to do with Easter? The Easter Bunny origins are varied and go back centuries. How did the Bunny become the mascot of the holiest Christian holiday? And does the Easter Bunny actually lay eggs (ah, not a monotreme) or is the Easter Bunny just in charge of Supply Chain and Logistics? 

Marketing!

The history of the Easter Bunny has almost nothing to do with Easter beyond marketing. There aren't any mentions of bunnies, fluffy yellow chicks, baskets of goodies, or chocolate in the Biblical story of Easter, let alone in terms of the resurrection specifically. 

According to Time, the concept of the Easter Bunny stems from pagan rituals around the vernal equinox (the first day of spring). The pagan goddess of fertility, Eostre, was also symbolized by a hare and eggs. It is believed that when missionaries spread Christianity throughout Europe, they combined the pagan spring rituals with Easter and resurrection celebrations to make the transition from paganism to Christianity easier for new converts. 

Marketing! 

In terms of the Easter Bunny's specific ties to the Christian holiday, German writings from the 1600s were reportedly among the first to mention an Easter hare. Called "Oschter Haws" the Easter Bunny was said to have left colorful eggs for good (get it, GOOD children) around Easter. And said GOOD CHILDREN would prepare "nests" for the eggs and leave carrots for the hare. German immigrants are believed to have brought the Easter Bunny tradition to the United States around the 1700s. 

Why is the Easter Bunny a Bunny and not a Chicken?

Despite Easter's association with eggs as a symbol of new life and the resurrection, the cute critter symbol of Easter being a bunny and not a chicken (or a Platypus) is no accident. The thinking behind the tradition was simply that rabbits reproduce A LOT, so as a symbol representing new life, rabbits took the edge over chickens. This pen-and-ink sketch is the earliest known American picture of The Easter Bunny, dated to around 1810, from Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. 

Easter 2022 is projected to be sweeter than Easter 2021. The National Confectioners Association (NCA) predicts that candy and confections sales for this year's Easter season will be 5% to 7% higher than last year, when sales topped $4 billion. 

Marketing!

More than 77% of people say they will absolutely or probably buy Easter candy this year. Easter beats Halloween. The Cadbury Easter Creme Egg is the most popular Easter Candy in 24 states, closely followed by Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs in 20 states. Egg-shaped chocolates are the top candy in 88% of the USA.

AND SO... The Easter Bunny got its start in the 18th century with German Lutherans who settled in Pennsylvania. "Oschter Haws" laid the eggs. Good children would get decorated eggs and other treats. Naughty children who did not behave would find rabbit pellets in their nests. 

I am happy to report that the Easter Bunny (not Platypus) made it to BOONTON USA this morning. Thankfully, nice little chocolate eggs. No rabbit pellets.  

My hand, Easter Morning 4/17/2022




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