The myth of the Easter Bunny has its origins among the German Lutherans. The Easter Bunny was often depicted wearing clothes, carrying a basket of coloured eggs, candy and sometimes toys to well-behaved children at the start of the season of Eastertide.
In Canada, the Easter Bunny is a secular symbol that is celebrated during a Christian holiday – but many families who welcome the Easter Bunny into their homes have no religious affiliation. The Easter Bunny, just like Santa Claus, is instead a celebration of childhood wonder: the cherished belief that magic still exists in a world that can appear very bleak at times.
The village I grew up in had its own share of bleak times. In a farming village, sometimes this meant the rain had not come, or had come at the wrong time, or had come as hail and ruined the crops. Sometimes hard times fell on our neighbours, and sometimes we gained new neighbours who were in the midst of hard times. These included, on our street, a young mother struggling to provide for three boys who had not seen enough magic in their young lives.
For obscure reasons that may have included a school play, my older brother found himself one Easter in possession of a head-to-toe white rabbit costume complete with white-and-pink floppy ears. He thought it would be fun to put the costume on and pretend to hop around the neighbourhood with a basket of eggs. My younger brother and I thought it was hilarious too and chased him around. Soon we were followed by every child in the vicinity, including the three boys from down the street. I believe the escapade ended with my brother dumping his basket and running for his life, before he managed to sneak back home and hide in the closet at the top of the stairs.
In our family, this is a very funny story that we share from time to time. But I will never forget the wonder on the face of three boys who didn’t, until that moment, believe in magic anymore.
Adapting to a new home can be a difficult process for parents and children, and finding room for magic and its companion, wonder, in the midst of change can be challenging. But it is through the celebration of both meaningful and seemingly trivial traditions that we find joy and comfort in otherwise unfamiliar situations. The Fraser Valley Regional Library offers a number of events that help you understand and appreciate Easter Traditions in Canada. I hope this spring brings you and your family joy, and a celebration of cherished or newly adopted traditions.