Saturday, April 3, 2010

Der Osterhase, the original Easter Bunny

Easter is such a wonderful and important Christian holiday as we remember the resurrection of Christ.  Along with the resurrection many people celebrate in other ways too.  Because this is my son's first Easter, I decided to do some research to see how Germans celebrate this day, particularly in regards to their children.  In the States children line up at the mall to talk to the Easter Bunny much like they do Santa Claus.  They also have Easter egg hunts and parades.  In Deutschland you will find neither the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus at the mall.  However, many children decorate eggs and have Easter egg hunts.

Interestingly, the tradition of the Easter Bunny or Easter Hare originated in Germany.  Der Osterhase or Oschter Haws was the first white Easter Hare and was first recorded in Germany in the 1500s.  Der Osterhase didn't come to the United States until the 1700s.  It wasn't until the 20th century that the Easter Hare became known as the Easter Rabbit and then later the Easter Bunny.

Children traditionally designed nests the night before Easter for der Osterhase from their caps and bonnets and would leave them outside in a safe place, often close to the barn for Osterhase to find.  Der Osterhase would leave colorful eggs inside their nests while the children were sleeping.

Since we are living in Germany, we decided that tonight we will follow the German tradition and make der Osterhase a nest. We will find out in the morning what he leaves us.

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