Gleðilega páska! Happy Easter!
My two Viking Kiddos are at the age now where the famous “Why” questions come flying fast and hard. We have our own free range chickens and the Kiddos know that the chickens provide eggs. This is the first year where they started asking, “Why do Easter Bunny’s bring eggs when the chickens lay them?” I have also heard parents struggle to answer “How does the Easter Bunny lay eggs?” Really good questions.
Viking Dad and I started looking up the different stories and the myths around Eostre, who is Teutonic/Germanic Goddess of fertility, abundance and new beginnings. According to lore the white hare was her companion or symbol. In the Viking myths the Goddesses Freyja and Iđunn represent the virtues of fertility, abundance and spring.
This is a brief tale summarized from multiple sources.
One early Spring or late Winter, before the snow had thawed the Goddess Eostre found a wounded bird in the snow. To help the little bird survive the severe cold, she transformed it into a rabbit. The rabbit’s fur was thick and warm and allowed the rabbit/bird to survive the severe cold. Unfortunately, the transformation was incomplete and the rabbit retained the ability to lay eggs. In thanks for its life being saved, the rabbit took the eggs and decorated them and left them as gifts for Eostre. The rabbit found that she could only lay these special eggs once a year. Eostre was delighted by the generous gift from the rabbit that she wanted all to share her joy with all of mankind, so the tradition continued. The white hare became a symbol of Eostre.
Viking Dad and I really liked this simple story and it seemed to satisfies the “why” question. Viking Dad and I decided that we would keep the story simple and not burden the Kiddos with the questionable background of the history of Eostre. That is not the meaning of Easter or even Eostre’s joyous tradition. The meaning of this season should be a time of new beginnings (it is Spring), forgiveness and redemption ( Passover and Resurrection) and utter silliness (twitterpation).