Saturday, March 12, 2005

"The rabbit's name seems to have little effect on shopping habits"

Palm Beach Post | Mall bunnies hunt for neutral names
The Easter Bunny is a vanishing breed.

Not that there's a shortage of 6-foot white rabbits carrying baskets of colored eggs. It's just that Mr. Shopping Mall Bunny is becoming more politically correct.

The bunny at The Gardens mall Easter egg hunt last weekend — oops, make that just plain "egg hunt" — was called Garden Bunny.

"The name just complemented The Gardens of the Palm Beaches," mall Marketing Director Jeannie Roberts said.

... The rabbit's name seems to have little effect on shopping habits. "I'm not really sure how religious the bunny is," The Gardens' Roberts said.

She's right. The origin of the Easter Bunny dates to the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility, Oestre or Eastre, whose mythical companion was the ultimate symbol of fertility, the hare.

Over the centuries the Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus became entwined with the pagan celebration of the annual rebirth of life each spring. German immigrants brought the Easter rabbit across the Atlantic in the late 1800s, and he's become the secular symbol of the Easter season.
Hm. So the Christians have taken such a firm hold of the goddes Oestre that invoking her name is too controversial?

You know, some things just don't bear too much thinking about. We're talking about the theological implications of marshmallow eggs.

Next up: The annual December visit from the jolly old elf himself, er... Kris Kringle.

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