Washington, Apr 5 (ANI): While the Bible has no mention of Easter bunnies and eggs, Easter has been synonymous with the long-eared, cotton-tailed creature and kids painting eggs or hunting for baskets overflowing with scrumptious Easter goodies. And it's now that scientists have revealed the origin of this tradition.
The researchers have said that bunnies, eggs, Easter gifts and fluffy, yellow chicks in gardening hats all stem from pagan roots.
They were incorporated into the celebration of Easter separately from the Christian tradition of honouring the day Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
According to University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture, the origin of the celebration-and the Easter bunny- can be traced back to 13th century, pre-Christian Germany, when people worshiped several gods and goddesses.
The Teutonic deity Eostra was the goddess of spring and fertility, and feasts were held in her honour on the Vernal Equinox.
Her symbol was the rabbit because of the animal's high reproduction rate, reports Discovery News.
Spring also symbolized new life and rebirth, while eggs were an ancient symbol of fertility.
History.com said that the Easter eggs association with Jesus' resurrection came much later when Roman Catholicism became the dominant religion in Germany in the 15th century and merged with already ingrained pagan beliefs.
The first Easter bunny legend was documented in the 1500s.
By 1680, the first story about a rabbit laying eggs and hiding them in a garden was published.
And these legends came to the United States in the 1700s when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country, said the Center for Children's Literature and Culture.
The tradition of making nests for the rabbit to lay its eggs in soon followed.
Eventually, nests became decorated baskets and colourful eggs were swapped for candy, treats and other small gifts. (ANI)