Here comes Peter Cottontail coming down the bunny trail, hippity, hoppin’, Easter’s on its way! Well, now that the Easter Bunny was deemed an essential worker we can be assured that chocolate eggs are being prepared and will be hidden all over our homes on the morning of April 12th. Yay! The Bunny is still working!
Peter Cottontail is a popular Easter themed song that was written in 1949 by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollin. This dynamic duo also composed the holiday classic, “Frosty the Snowman” in 1950. The song “Here comes Peter Cottontail” tells the story of an Easter bunny that overslept on Easter morning scrambling to get all the chocolate eggs delivered. This fictional rabbit was first called Peter Rabbit rising to fame as the main character of many children’s stories including the most famous “The Adventures of Peter Cottontail”. In this tail Peter Rabbit was unhappy and sad with his very plain sounding name, so he temporarily changed it to Peter Cottontail which made him feel much more important. After a certain period of time Peter changed his name back to Peter Rabbit because “there’s nothing like the old name” and being the star of 15,000 newspaper stories later, the rest is history. However, legally the Easter bunny goes by the name Peter Cottontail, just like the song.
The Easter Bunny we all know today was born in Germany into the German Lutheran community to play the role of a judge and evaluating whether children were good or bad. The rabbit was thought to be the sacred beast of Eastre, a Saxon (Germanic) Goddess of Spring and of the Dawn. Eastre is also credited with giving the holiday its name.
Aside from the Bunny, the chocolates, and the eggs Easter is considered by some to be a religious holiday. In the Christian religion Easter is also known as Resurrection Sunday and is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. As described in the New Testament (bible) the resurrection of Jesus occurred three days after his crucifixion (Good Friday) where he was sacrificed and nailed to the cross. Easter Sunday also marks the end of the period of Lent, which is a 40 day period of fasting, prayer, and penance. Easter is also linked, both by time of year and the symbolism, to the Jewish Holiday of Passover.
On Easter Sunday morning many people wake up, put on their best new outfit, and head out the door for Easter mass, whereas others wake up at the crack of dawn and search the house high and low for the little treats the bunny has left them over night. Did you know Easter eggs used to have a medieval twist? Hard boiled eggs, just like the ones we dye fancy colours, were part of a medieval children’s game. To play this game the priest would give one of the kids a hardboiled egg and they would have to continually pass it around to all the other kids until midnight. At midnight whoever was left holding the egg got to eat it. Yum!!!
So, if the eggs came from a Medieval game why do we paint and dye them fancy colours? There are many theories as to why painting Easter eggs became such a popular tradition, but for Christians the Easter egg is a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Back in the day people would paint the eggs red to represent Jesus’ blood that he shed on the cross and somehow that tradition translated to what it is today which is transforming hardboiled eggs into works of art and cute animals!
Easter outfits are a big deal! Many people buy a brand new fancy dress or suit or whatever it may be to wear on Easter Sunday. The idea behind this tradition is to not only look your best and be all fancy, but rather it is good luck! Wearing a brand new fancy outfit on Easter brought you good luck for the rest of the year.
For some people the Easter holiday is a BIG DEAL, but interestingly it is only considered a public holiday by 12 American states. In Canada, Good Friday is considered a federal holiday by most provinces.
As stated earlier we know that the Easter bunny was born in Germany in the 16th century. However, in the 1700’s Dutch settlers brought the bunny to Pennsylvania marking his first appearance in the United States.
Have you ever wondered if the Easter egg roll was actually true? Well I am here to tell you that yes, it is most definitely true! In 1878 President Rutherford B. Hayes found children in the park rolling Easter eggs around and fell in love with the game. From that day forward, the Easter egg roll has been a yearly event.
Okay, okay, okay, it is time for what you have all been reading for, THE FOOD!!! Easter is famous for the chocolate eggs and bunnies and marshmallow shaped everything, but really how many of these things do people actually eat. Approximately in the US alone, 90 million chocolate bunnies are sold every year for Easter. This religious celebration is to blame for people spending $2.6 billion on candy alone!!! But the true question is: do you eat the ears or the tail first? Well, the answer is 59% of people eat the ears first, only a handful start by chomping on the tail, and the rest just close their eyes and bite where ever their taste buds desire.
If the bunny can get his little paws on a Cadbury crème egg he can forever be considered a golden bunny! More than 1.5 million crème eggs are made EVERY DAY!! That’s right I said every day. The crème egg factory in the UK actually makes 500 million of them every year. If you pile all those little eggs one on top of the other they would stretch higher than Mount Everest! Now that’s a lot of little eggs. How can the Easter bunny possibly carry them all?
It can’t possibly be Easter without Peeps. The little chick shaped marshmallows loved by all are extremely popular during the Easter season. They are so popular Americans eat approximately 1.5 billion of them during this short period of time. This sky high number ranks Peeps as the most popular non-chocolate Easter candy. The factory in Bethlehem, yes that’s the name of the Peeps town, Pennsylvania makes a whooping 5.5 million a day. Fun fact, in 1953 it took about 27 hours to make one single peep by hand with a pastry tube. Now, no longer made by hand, Peeps are made in six minutes or less thanks to a hefty machine called the Depositor.
Aside from chocolates and Peeps Americans consume more than 16 million jelly beans during the Easter holiday! These funky little beans were only introduced as an Easter treat in the 1930’s. Putting that number into context that is enough jelly beans to circle the earth three whole times or fill a giant plastic Easter egg the size of a nine story building!!!
Finally, my last crazy Easter fact! Did you know that pretzels used to be associated with Easter? Pretzels were considered a popular Easter treat because the twists of the salty treat were thought to resemble the arms crossing in prayer. Who would have thought!
Oh here comes Peter Cottontail, hoppin’ down the bunny trail, hippity, hoppity,