According to the Venerable Bede, Easter or Eostre, was the pagan goddess of fertility, spring and the dawn.
Her symbols, we are told, were flowers, rabbits, and eggs, as well as the sun and the moon.
According to an ancient German tale associated with Eostre (a tale that seems to first pop up as a Brother's Grimm's Fairy Tale), a little girl found a bird in the snow that was close to death, and she prayed to Eostre, the Goddess of Spring, to help the bird.
Eostre appeared, crossing a rainbow bridge, with the snow melting before her feet as she walked. Seeing that the bird was badly wounded and cold, she magically turned it into a rabbit so it could survive the blustery winds. Unfortunately, however the transformation from bird to rabbit was incomplete, and the rabbit retained the ability to lay eggs. Nonetheless, in thanks for savings its life, the rabbit took the eggs that it laid, and decorated them, offering them up as gifts to Eostre at this time of year.
Yes, a pretty crazy story.
And no, I do not make this stuff up (someone else does that).
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