I have some friends who made the parental decision not to expose their kids to the dangers of “make believe” characters like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Their reasoning was that if you weren’t honest and up front with kids about everything from the beginning, they might doubt your word about other things they couldn’t see with their little eyeballs…things you really wanted them to believe in, like Jesus and God.
Personally, I think exposing kids to harsh reality too soon is a fate worse than believing in a big rabbit that brings you candy, and then finding out that all along it was your parents offering this loving gesture. (Loving, not only because the parents knew the kids would enjoy it, but also because the parents paid the dental bills.)
For those who reside in the Easter Bunny camp, here is a little historical background on the origins of “The Big E.B.” Hopefully, knowing there is history and tradition behind this practice will ease the troubled conscience of anyone out there struggling with this philosophical conundrum.
Which came first, the chicken or the bunny?
According to legend, and more importantly, holidays.net, the Easter Bunny originated
in pre-Christian fertility lore. The hare and the rabbit were known for being the most fertile of animals (not a surprise), and they came to represent new life during spring. (Incidentally, both hare and egg were the traditional symbols of the pagan goddess of spring, Eostre, from whom the word Easter apparently evolved.) The Easter Bunny seems to have been associated with Easter as early as 1500, where mention of it was discovered in German writings (the Easter Bunny immigrated to the U.S. with other Germans via the Pennsylvania Dutch country). Around the early 1800s, some clever German got the idea to make edible Easter bunnies out of pastry and sugar.
Not a peep about how wrong THIS is.
Which reminds me, the JustBorn Candy Company is celebrating 50 years of making
Peeps, those sugar-covered marshmallow treats shaped like bunnies and chicks. In fact, their Web site reminds us that 2003 marks the
year of the Peeps ! Yes, my friends, for only $9.95 for the basic membership, and $13.95 for the premium level, you are invited to “declare your citizenship in Peepsville by joining the Official Peeps Fan Club to share your unbridled love for these delicious treats.”
Ah, there’s nothing like Easter to unleash the unbridled love of sugar. And only a mean, nasty parent would withhold that pleasure from their adorable child, right?
But as long as parents share the story of the unbridled love of a Father for His Son, and that Son for His friends, well, that child may just turn out okay. Dentally challenged, but okay. Whether they get that belief to stick using honesty or make-believe, the important thing is to believe in the harsh reality of the Passion, and the glorious sweetness of the resurrection.