Why Eggs and Rabbits Are Associated With Easter

The Easter Rabbit and the moon.

moon rabbit
photo from wikipedia

The Moon Rabbit

There are many cultures around the world that see a rabbit in the moon, Latin American, Native American, China, Japan, Korea for example.  There are many legends from these countries of how the rabbit got on the face of the moon which is a great honor. This great honor often has to do with a god embodied into a human and a great sacrifice to save a life. (Sound familiar?)

Many Asian legends are variations on the same theme. A Buddhist legend tells the tale of a monkey, an otter, a jackal, and a rabbit who committed to generosity on the day of the full moon.

A old man came along and begged for food. All of the animals gather food for him, but the rabbit having nothing to offer but grass threw himself on the fire offering his own body.  The rabbit did not burn, but lived. Instead the man reveal himself to be Śakra  (the ruler of heaven).  Moved by the sacrifice made to save him, drew the rabbit’s image on the moon to honor him.

Honoring the rabbit

Similar sacrificing myths occur in Mexico, where the rabbit saw a man (the god Quetzalcoatl then living as a human) walking after a long journey, almost dying of hunger and thirst. A rabbit grazing nearby offered his own body for food to save the man from certain death. Quetzalcoatl, like Sakra, was moved by the rabbit’s sacrifice, and raised her up the moon, before setting her free once again on earth (I love how the rabbit is female in this story) saying, “You may be just a rabbit, but everyone will remember you; there is your image in light, for all people and for all times.”

The Chinese folklore, often portrays the rabbit as a companion of the moon goddess Chang’e, constantly pounding the elixir of life for her; but in Japanese and Korean versions it is just pounding the ingredients for rice cake. ( I love Wikipedia)

The Easter Egg

The first full moon after the Spring Equinox, the moon right before Easter is called the Egg Moon. Native Americans named the full moon of each month to help them keep track of the seasons. April’s moon has several names including the Egg Moon, which is the Full Pink Moon. Also called the Full Spouting Grass Moon, and, among coastal Native American tribes, the Full Fish Moon.

During my research I found many interesting myths and symbology of the rabbit, which my Facebookers were right, is often a sign of fertility. In ancient times it was thought that since rabbit reproduced so readily because it was hermaphrodite. Thereafter associated with the Virgin Mary.  Want to read more about symbols of the rabbit that I found during my research? Three Hares. (sometimes symbolizing the Trinity)  This I found fascinating and plan to research it more.

What do you think of Easter Eggs and Easter Bunnies?

26 thoughts on “Why Eggs and Rabbits Are Associated With Easter”

  1. That is NEW information for me, all of it! It is so interesting, and I love to learn. I will share this with my children, as we were all trying to guess yesterday after reading your question!
    Thank you Jodi!!
    nikky44 recently posted..Happy EasterMy Profile

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      I am glad my question gave you distraction yesterday and to have delivered a post that is light and happy.:)

  2. Harleena Singh@Freelance Writer

    Wonderful information Jodi!

    Yes indeed, we all do know that rabbits and eggs are associated with Easter, but never really bother to find out as to the reason why, which you beautifully covered here.

    I have read about the various cultures and how the rabbit is related to the moon, though never really knew so many stories and tales existed about it.

    Thanks for sharing and hope you had a wonderful Easter. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. What do I think of that?
    It kind of made feel dumb for not knowing that.
    If I had kids who asked my the origin of the whole idea behind the bunny I would be stuck.
    BUT thanks to your post, now I’m prepared. ๐Ÿ™‚

    cheers, Jodi!


  4. HI Jodi,
    Love how you are so present and real on these blogs.
    Easter Sunday we were talking about the meaning of the Easter Egg and now I have more to add to the conversations.
    Will return soon,
    Ann Marie

  5. Wow, Jodi. All of those things, except ‘fertility’ were knew facts to me. I love trivia, so this was very interesting info.

  6. WOW, lots of information I was unaware of. We have taken from so many unique cultures and turned them into something else as well as lost many traditions. You have drawn information from a very deep and plentiful well. Thanks ((Jodi))

  7. Jodi, why do I feel that every time I visit your blog my IQ goes up ten points? hee hee! I loved learning about the association of bunnies and eggs with Easter. As I read your summary of the Buddhist tale, I got the faintest memory of having read it a few years back. In any case, it was wonderful to become reaquainted with it! Great post, my friend! Oh, and isn’t it wonderful how people respond to our queries? I love it! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Bella recently posted..Is this the way Starbucks makes lemon cake?My Profile

  8. (FL) Girl with a New Life

    As an Asian I had a good chuckle over the pounding of the rice cake, because we do love our rice. And our rice cake.

    Fascinating post!

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      We can never run out of things to learn but in the end we will realize that it is all the same thing.

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