What Does the Easter Bunny Have to Do With Jesus? Origin, Symbolism, and More!

Written by Colby Maxwell
Published: April 5, 2023
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Easter is a holiday with deep roots in both Christian and pre-Christian traditions. From the Easter bunny to the colorful eggs that we decorate and exchange, Easter is a time filled with symbols and customs that have been passed down through generations. While some of these traditions have clear ties to Christianity and the resurrection of Jesus, others have been the subject of much debate and misinformation. In this article, we will explore the origins and symbolism of the Easter bunny and eggs, as well as dispel some of the myths surrounding Easter and its connection to pre-Christian traditions. Let’s find out: What Does the Easter Bunny Have to Do With Jesus?

Dispelling Myths

Before we dive into this topic, we want to acknowledge that there is a lot of information out there on these topics that many people feel strongly about. With that in mind, we will be heavily relying on the content of studied scholars, especially Dan Maklelan, a biblical and religious scholar with degrees in Jewish studies, the Ancient Near East, Biblical Studies, and more! You will find some of his videos embedded in the article, and we encourage you to watch them for further context.

Over time, Easter has become a holiday that is surrounded by a vast array of beliefs and customs that have been passed down through generations. However, not all of these beliefs are grounded in fact. From folk traditions and semi-recent customs to pop pseudo-science beliefs, there are many ideas surrounding the origins of Easter that historians and scholars have debunked. Despite this, many people still hold onto these beliefs and continue to perpetuate them. Let’s get to the bottom of some of the most popular ones!

The Origins of the Easter Bunny

@maklelan #maklelan1294 Responding to @therealrealbradlea ♬ original sound – Dan McClellan

Rabbits have a long and storied history when it comes to Easter. In fact, these adorable creatures have been hopping their way into the holiday for centuries, thanks to their mystical origins in medieval Christianity, but what does the Easter bunny have to do with Jesus?

Legend has it that European brown hares were revered for their incredible reproductive abilities. These furry creatures were said to be capable of becoming pregnant with a second litter before even giving birth to their first! As a result, people believed that these rabbits possessed the power of parthenogenesis – also known as virgin birth.

It’s no wonder that rabbits became inextricably linked with the story of Mary and the birth of Jesus. In countless paintings and depictions, the white rabbit was used as a symbol of purity and virginity. And so, the Easter Bunny was born – a fluffy, lovable creature that has become a beloved symbol of the holiday for people around the world.

Easter Eggs and Christianity

baby rabbit pups

Easter eggs were associated with fertility and the breaking of the Lenten fast.


Eggs have long been a potent symbol across cultures and religions, embodying themes of fertility and rebirth. These motifs proved especially important to early Christians, who associated the egg with the resurrection of Christ.

According to legend, the phoenix – a mythical bird that rose from the ashes of its own destruction – was reborn from an egg. In medieval Christianity, this story of rebirth became intertwined with the story of Easter, as believers gave eggs as gifts just before the start of the Lenten fast. Because eggs could last for weeks, they became a beloved tradition, with people breaking their fasts and the eggs themselves on Easter Sunday.

Over time, these eggs became more than just a dietary staple. They became a canvas for expression, as people began to decorate them with vibrant colors and intricate designs. Each hue held its own significance: red for the blood of Jesus, green for rebirth, and yellow for joy.

It wasn’t long before these colorful eggs became a beloved part of how children celebrated Easter. Whether they were searching for hidden eggs in the yard or carefully decorating their own, kids couldn’t get enough of these magical symbols of rebirth and renewal.

Some False Associations About Easter and Christianity

@maklelan #maklelan1255 ♬ original sound – Dan McClellan

There are many misconceptions about the origins of Easter, particularly regarding its association with other religious holidays or ancient pagan traditions. However, these beliefs are largely unfounded.

One of the most popular myths is that Easter is linked to the Mesopotamian goddess Ishtar. While the names may sound similar, there is no evidence to suggest that the two are connected. The association seems to have arisen due to a mistaken assumption based on a similar-sounding name. In reality, Easter is a Christian adaptation of the Jewish holiday Passover, and its traditions and symbols have evolved over centuries of Christian practice.

Another commonly held belief is that Easter is a pagan holiday. While it’s true that the word “Easter” has Germanic roots and is likely derived from the name of the goddess Oestre, this does not mean that Easter is a pagan celebration. Rather, it reflects the linguistic and cultural influences of Germanic-speaking peoples who converted to Christianity in the Middle Ages. In fact, many Christians around the world still refer to Easter by some variation of the word Passover in their native languages, underscoring its origins in Jewish tradition. In Greece, Easter is called Pascha, in Italy it is Pasqua, in France it is Paques, and in Denmark it is Paaske!

It’s important to note that the traditions associated with Easter – such as decorating eggs, attending church services, and participating in egg hunts – have clear Christian origins and are not linked to pagan worship. While some elements of these traditions may have evolved over time, they remain firmly rooted in the Christian celebration of Christ’s resurrection.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/WestwindPhoto

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About the Author

Colby is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering outdoors, unique animal stories, and science news. Colby has been writing about science news and animals for five years and holds a bachelor's degree from SEU. A resident of NYC, you can find him camping, exploring, and telling everyone about what birds he saw at his local birdfeeder.

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