Hippity, hoppy Easter's on its way.
But what does Easter, a religious holiday in Christianity, have to do with an egg-laying Easter bunny?
The origin of the Easter bunny and Easter eggs dates back to the 13th century, according to the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture, as reported by Discovery News. Children in pre-Christian Germany worship a Teutonic god, amongst the many they worshipped, named Eostra, the goddess of spring and fertility. Eostra was symbolized as a rabbit for the feasts held during the Vernal Equinox because of rabbit's high reproduction capabilities.
Eggs were also a symbol of fertility that comes along with Spring's theme of life and rebirth. Catholicism added the inclusion of eggs to represent the resurrection of Jesus, which the holiday of Easter is centered around.
Incorporating both the rabbit and eggs, the first tale about an egg-laying Easter bunny was documented in a word-of-mouth story in the 1500's before first being published in 1680. The tale is about a rabbit who lays eggs and hides them in a garden for children to find. This story was brought to the United States, namely to Pennsylvania Dutch country, in the 1700's by the Germans.
According to EHow.com, Easter Egg Hunts were first celebrated in the 1700's by German immigants in Pennsylvania. The tradition began with the Osterhare, an egg-laying rabbit, that German children would make nests for so that the hare could lay eggs in it. Soon, the tradition evolved into a treasure hunt for the eggs, with baskets replacing the nests, with prizes and chocolate.
In fact, the holiday has turned into a consumer-driven one in the U.S., commercialized with decorations and Easter baskets for children. In the $2.1 billion spent each year on candy, more than 120 million pounds of sweets for Easter are produced. The National Retail Federation reported that the average American will spend about $145.28 on all things Easter in 2012, up 11 percent from last year.
Though the price of gas is on everyone's mind, Easter is one of the few holidays some consumers are willing to stretch their budgets, especially because many children look forward to treats and new outfits on Easter morning, NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a press release. Retailers will make sure to offer plenty of promotions on candy, apparel, food and decorations in the coming weeks for eager holiday shoppers.
Part of the Easter expense for parents with children who celebrate is to take their children for photos with the Easter Bunny, a man in a large rabbit suit waiting to say cheese with children on their laps. According to The Stir, parents drop about $20 for glossy photos of their children in fancy with the Easter Bunny at their local malls.
In honor of the tradition of the Easter Bunny, and its long history for the holiday, here is a gallery of the best photos of children not too happy to be photographed with Peter Cottontail, like Ellen DeGeneres' Bad Easter photo gallery.