How did bunnies and sweets become entwined with the religious holiday?
From the History Channels e-mail
We know Easter is a Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. But how exactly did floppy-eared furry creatures, sweets, egg coloring and hunting become entwined with the religious observance?
The practice of coloring eggs—ancient symbols of rebirth associated with spring—can be traced as far back as the 13th century in Christendom, possibly as a celebratory ritual marking the conclusion of Lent. It is believed that bunnies, famous procreators, became part of the Easter tradition in the early 1700s, when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania and brought the tradition of a mythical hare called "Oschter Haws" that laid colored eggs in nests prepared by children.
In the mid-19th century, U.S. cities began holding Easter parades following Sunday church services and around the same time chocolate eggs were introduced in Europe. By the 1930s candy makers were adding jelly beans to the menu of sweets followed by marshmallow Peeps in the 1950s.