A legendary figure about the holiday Easter. In popular culture, it's a rabbit
that hides Easter eggs (as in eggs dyed for Easter, not the video game Easter Egg
), and children have to find them.
Its origins are a bit more complex. Missionaries found that adding Christian elements to pagan celebrations made conversions a bit easier. So they combined the Christian celebration of Jesus
with fertility rites around that time of year, and rabbits and eggs being signs of those, they became symbols of Easter as well. It helped that the resurrection theme went along well with the renewal theme of most pre-Christian spring festivals.
In many places where Easter is celebrated today, things about sex and coming back from the dead aren't considered appropriate things to teach children, so the elements got fiddled around with until Easter became a case of Santa Clausmas
for many people, with the Easter Bunny being the most prominent figure instead of Jesus.
Compare Santa Claus
Mentions and appearances:
- In Lobo's Paramilitary Christmas Special, the Easter Bunny hires Lobo to kill Santa Claus as he is sick of the jolly fat man hogging all of the holiday glory.
- A terrifying version appears in an issue of The Unexpected, where it lured a bunch of children into an old house for an Easter Egg hunt, then threw them into a vat of chocolate and planned to eat them as revenge for all the chocolate bunnies eaten throughout the world.
- In Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew!, the Easter Bunny is an alien, who created the moai on Easter Bunny Island and used Earth to dispose of dangerous mutant eggs from his homeworld.
- One of the "Council of Legendary Figures" in The Santa Clause 2.
- Then there was the scene toward the end of Home Alone, where an actor playing Santa Claus gets served with a parking ticket on Christmas Eve. "What's next?" he grouses. "Rabies shots for the Easter bunny?"
- MST3K had Mike and the Bots poking fun at Santa and the Easter Bunny's adversarial relationship in Santa Claus 1959.
- Hop is about a bunny who is the latest successor to the title would rather chase his dream of being a rock drummer instead.
- One of the titular Guardians in Rise of the Guardians.
- William Joyce's The Guardians of Childhood has E. Aster Bunnymund, a member of an order of Pooka's that have established a series of tunnels that lie beneath much of the Earth. Bunnymund himself is a talented martial artist and swordsman and joins other figures such as Santa Claus in the Guardians team put together by the Man in the Moon. He also played a role in shaping the planet. Originally egg-shaped and in danger of becoming orbitally unstable, Bunnymund recarved the Earth to a stabler globe shape, creating the continent of Australia among other features in the process. The film version plays up the Australia creation aspect as part of his personality with Hugh Jackman voicing him.
- In The Dumb Bunnies, the Easter Bunny rides in a shiny red minivan pulled by eight flying Pilgrims every Christmas to drop a bunch of eggs down the chimney.
- The Easter Bunny appears briefly in Merry-Go-Round in Oz, the last of the forty canonical Oz books. He is revealed to live in the land of Oz, with a number of bunny assistants who produce Easter eggs, and invites Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion in for jelly beans carrot tea. The Cowardly Lion is not thrilled with the choice of beverage, but the Easter Bunny quite misses his subtle hints and hospitably keeps offering him more.
- The Easter Egg Haunt from Graveyard School had David Pike being warned by what is implied to be the Easter Bunny to destroy a specific egg before it hatches. As it turns out, David's brother Richie finds said egg and is intent to make it hatch. No one besides David seemed concerned about the fact that the egg was in fact getting bigger and smelled as if something died. It later hatched into a gigantic mutant rabbit with claws and razor-sharp teeth.
- The Discworld counterpart is the Soul Cake Tuesday Duck, which lays chocolate eggs in the gardens of children whose parents can afford chocolate eggs. Unfortunately for it, Soul Cake Tuesday is also the start of the duck-hunting season.
- Hilariously played with in an episode of Farscape.
: (wearing bunny suit) Curious holiday, Easter. A religious leader dies, comes back from the dead, and you end up celebrating like this
- In The Vicar of Dibley Easter Special, Geraldine learned that the village of Dibley has a tradition of an Easter bunny, which is secretly one of the villagers, although the kids (and Alice) think its real. When Mrs Cropley died, she told Geri that she'd been the Easter bunny, and now she was passing it on to her. When Geraldine meets David Horton also dressed as a bunny, they realise that Mrs Cropley must have forgotten she'd already passed the tradition on. And then they turn the corner and find the entire parish council in rabbit ears.
- In Peanuts, Snoopy is the Easter Beagle.
- The Easter Bunny in the Deep 7 game Santa's Soldiers is in a cold war type situation with Santa Claus. Her "peeples army" will work with or against the elves, depsnding on what suits her agenda at the time.
- Rankin/Bass did at least 3 Easter Bunny specials: Here Comes Peter Cottontail (1971); The First Easter Rabbit (1976) which was based on the children's story, The Velveteen Rabbit; and The Easter Bunny is Comin' To Town (1977). They sure liked that rabbit.
- In at least the original special of Santa Vs The Snowman, Santa is locked in prison, and says that the Easter Bunny is never going to let him live it down.
- There was a Looney Tunes cartoon, "Easter Yeggs", in which Bugs Bunny meets the Easter Bunny — who tries to foist his egg-hiding chores off on Bugs because he's lazy.
- The Nightmare Before Christmas: Lock, Shock and Barrel were sent to retrieve Santa Claus but instead returned with the Easter Bunny.
- The Easter Bunny made an appearance in the Fairly OddParents Christmas Special where he and the other holiday figures (and his dog who pretended to be the spirit of Halloween) were upset with Timmy for wishing it was always Christmas. He also had an uncontrollable urge to hide eggs under anything.
- He also made a cameo in Abra Catastrophe at Timmy's fairyversary party where he gave Timmy some exploding Easter eggs which came in handy for the climatic battle.
- A Claymation Easter has a greedy pig kidnap the Easter Bunny and take his place so that he can get all the lucrative endorsements the Easter Bunny declines.
- When Johnny Bravo told Suzy the Tooth Fairy wasn't real, she was sad and told she already knew about the Easter Bunny not being real but didn't expect the fairy to be another fake. Johnny was sorry for destroying her dreams and, once what she said about the bunny clicked in, gave a Big "NO!". Johnny spent most of the episode trying to restore her belief in the Tooth Fairy and, as the episode ended, she met the real Tooth Fairy and the real Easter Bunny.
- Yogi Bear once helped the Easter Bunny.
- In the Claymation special "Follow That Bunny'', a thief steals the magic egg that the Easter Rabbit (as he's known in this special) has to paint in order to make spring come, prompting a Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits to go after it.
- Super Chicken once battled a rogue Easter Bunny who was robbing banks in order to dye the money pretty colors like Easter eggs. It turns out that the robber was a guy named "Louie the Lapin" in disguise. Near the end of the episode, the real Easter Bunny does a hop-on to wave at the Super Coop passing overhead.
- In the Rocko's Modern Life episode "From Here to Maternity," the gang signs up for Lamaze classes, run by a bunch of rabbits. The class is just a scam to steal eggs.
- Many rabbits get purchased as gifts around Easter time. Frequently this ends badly as children are not prepared for taking care of rabbit. Many rabbits end in shelters, but other get abandoned which is a certain death sentence.