The idea of an Easter bunny character first emerged in Germany in the 17th century, as a benevolent rabbit who carried colored eggs, sweets and toys in his basket, which he would distribute to kids depending on whether they had been good or bad during Lent.
The choice of the hare as this harbinger of good spring news came from an ancient belief that the hare was a hermaphrodite, and thus could reproduce without losing its virginity just like the Virgin Mary, and that the rabbit had played a role in the Easter story, welcoming Jesus back into his favorite garden on the day of his resurrection. Bunnies, like eggs, are symbols of fertility, known to give birth to large litters in the spring, becoming synonymous with the reawakening of the earth after the wintery sleep.
The modern day All-American Easter bunny has moved firmly away from religious association, taking up its place, like Santa Claus, as a commercial force for the season, selling millions of chocolate eggs and causing much joy and indigestion. With this in mind, we are celebrating our Easter with a few vintage snapshots, a nod to the holiday while steering clear of religion.