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Easter Bunny

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A legendary figure in celebrations of the Christian 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. Basically, the springtime version of Santa Claus.

Its origins are a bit more complex than that, though. It's popularly believed that missionaries found that adding Christian elements to pagan celebrations made conversions a bit easier. So they combined the Christian celebration of Jesus's resurrection 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 that it seems likely most pre-Christian spring festivals had. Unfortunately, there is no contemporary record of these early festivals beyond a single reference to an Anglo-Saxon goddess named Eostre by the Venerable Bede. The Easter Bunny itself traces back at least to the Osterhase ("Easter hare"), mentioned in German sources from the 1500s, with the basics of the lore (especially eggs as gifts) already in place. The German immigrants known as the Pennsylvania Dutch, who settled in America in the 1700s, brought the figure across the Atlantic, and it gradually got associated with the holiday over the next century or so, particularly with chocolate makers tying Easter confections in with the Bunny.

To help make the holiday more child-friendly, the elements regarding sex and coming back from the dead got downplayed, to the point that Easter in much of the English-speaking world came down with a case of Santa Clausmas for many people, with the Easter Bunny being more prominent than Jesus even.

Compare Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. In some more adult-oriented works, the Easter Bunny may be a woman wearing a Playboy Bunny outfit. Likely to appear in an Easter Episode.

Mentions and appearances:

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    Comic Books 
  • In The Lobo 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!, one version of 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.
    • A later issue introduced the actual Easter Bunny, who was swept up in the net when Roquat kidnapped the supernatural lapins from all adjacent dimensions. He was a typical anthropomorphic rabbit in Victorian clothing who carried a basket of eggs.

    Fan Works 
  • Mentioned by Sassette in the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Smurfed Behind: The Passion Of The Smurfs", when Tapper explains that the real purpose of Easter (and the Smurfs appearing in Jerusalem around 33 C.E.) was the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, with Snappy rather disillusioned by the whole revelation having nothing to do with Easter bunnies...although his mind is on seeing Smurfette in a "bunny suit".
  • Holidays with Holmes: After she gives her lodgers leftover Easter eggs for breakfast, Mrs. Hudson asks Watson if he's told Holmes about the Easter Rabbit. Holmes sputters when he hears this and dismisses the entire holiday. Watson notes that science one day proving that the Easter Bunny is a real, undying creature carries about the same likelihood as Holmes ever learning to enjoy the holidays.

    Film — Animation 
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas: Lock, Shock and Barrel were sent to retrieve Santa Claus but instead returned with the Easter Bunny. The poor Bunny is absolutely terrified of Halloweentown and Jack Skellington offers him a genuine apology before ordering the trio to take him home.
  • In Rise of the Guardians, one of the titular Guardians is Bunnymund, Guardian of Hope. He's a unique take as he's actually a tall, human-sized rabbit who wields a boomerang. However, when Pitch's plan to weaken the Guardians by robbing them of children's belief comes to fruition, Bunnymund ends up getting reduced to a normal-looking rabbit.
  • Rabbit Academy is about a rabbit who gets accepted to a school that trains Easter Bunnies, and must defend the holiday from foxes who want to take over, and a former pupil who wants to abolish Easter altogether.

    Film — Live Action 
  • 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?"
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 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.
  • Mallrats had Jay and Silent Bob beating up a guy dressed as the Easter Bunny thanks to Brodie telling them the guy beat him up (it was actually a store owner who did it, because he hates "mallrats" like Brodie and had just stolen his ex-girlfriend).

  • 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.
  • Land of Oz: 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 and 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.
  • Briefly mentioned in Dad, Are You the Tooth Fairy? when Gabi's friends tell him that the Tooth Fairy doesn't exist and neither does the Easter Bunny.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Hilariously played with in an episode of Farscape.
    Harvey: (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 realize 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.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In Peanuts, Snoopy is the Easter Beagle.
  • In one Retail comic, the Easter Bunny appears to berate Stuart for trying to turn Easter into another gift giving holiday a la Christmas, and warns him if he tries again there will be hell to pay.
    "I don't got enough to do passing out candy? Now you want me to break my back like Santa with a bag full of toys?

    Puppet Shows 
  • In the Valerie Harper episode of The Muppet Show, a rabbit named Bernie acts as Valerie's make-up artist, then gives her an egg. Hilda explains (in her vowel-shifting East European accent) that he's the Easter Bernie.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Miss Texas dressed up as the Easter Bunny during the season for USWA in 1992.


    Tabletop Games 
  • 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, depending on what suits her agenda at the time.


    Video Games 

    Web Comics 
  • In Holiday Wars, the Easter Bunny kills Santa Claus and declares war on all the other holidays.
  • Numerous Easter Bunnies are appointed by the Rabbit Council in Kevin & Kell to spread out Easter Eggs. The Dewclaw family has in one form or another been associated with the role of Domain's Easter Bunny since the beginning of the comic. As follows:
    • Kevin: initially was merely the Easter Bunny's bodyguard, but was promoted to the role itself after the Council's insurance company refused to write a policy for anyone but him.
    • Kell: a wolf. Filled in for Kevin one year after he fell ill.
    • Rudy: Kell's son and Kevin's stepson, also a wolf. filled in for Kevin one year after a cave in buried the Hare Link headquarters in dirt. Was accidentally caught after stumbling on a sunrise Easter service. After a rabbit version of his image started being used in marketing, the Rabbit Council offered him a permanent position, with a scholarship to the college of his choice. He served a few more years until he was outed as a result of a scent-based masquerade. His scent 'mask' was a rabbit, and an artist had sketched what everyone looked like based on their scents. The media realized the similarities between the 'accepted' image of the Easter Bunny and rabbit! Rudy, and combined with the circumstantial evidence that accumulated, outed Rudy.
    • Fiona: Rudy's girlfriend, a fox. Tag teamed with Rudy to help deliver eggs, and later split the scholarship with him after she lost her fortune. Also serves as Miranda's bodyguard.
    • Dorothy: Kevin's mother. Was the first female Easter Bunny. Had to give up a prospective marriage with a pig (who's now Rudy's coach in the gardening team) because the Council threatened to fire her if she married outside the species.
    • Wendell: Kevin's nephew. Always dreamed of becoming the Easter Bunny, was offered an apprenticeship after saving rabbit pheromone-dowsed Rudy and Fiona from wolves. Is now being trained by Dorothy as he is too young, too inexperienced, and too immature to go solo.
    • Miranda Hutch: A friend and teammate of Rudy's and Fiona's. She's the Easter Bunny for the area surrounding Beige University. Her fathers secretly got her the job to give her an outlet for her recklessness that also gave her a bodyguard. Usually the bodyguard is her friend Carl, but after Fiona figured out she was the Easter Bunny, Fiona replaced Carl as her bodyguard. When she began openly dating Edgar, a lion, he took over for one Easter (and was immediately exposed, causing Fiona to go back to being her bodyguard).
    • Hockney, a wild boar piglet who's in the same class as Wendell. Became a "cover story" Easter bunny when their classmate Lin caught him replacing the eggs with rocks and misunderstood, later insisted on taking the job for real because he thought Lin was attracted to him as a result.

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 
  • Rankin/Bass did at least three 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.
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force: In "T-Shirt", with his magical shirt, Meatwad makes the Easter Bunny appear in the house. Then makes another Easter Bunny appears, followed by three more with one of them getting blasted by Frylock.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 in "Tooth or Consequences", she was sad and said 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 Yogi the Easter Bear to set up the eggs for Jellystone's Easter Jamboree.
  • 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.
  • George of the Jungle: 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.
  • The Wonder Pets! had an episode in which they had to help the Easter Bunny because he had a cold. In this case, they were assisted by Ollie, a semi-regular guest star who also happens to be a bunny.
  • Dora the Explorer had "Dora's Easter Adventure," in which the characters meet the "Hip-Hop Bunny," who actually wants to be a rapper, but is filling in for his brother, the Easter Bunny.
  • In the Tiny Toon Adventures Spring Break Special, Elmyra tries to capture Buster Bunny because she thinks he is the Easter Bunny and in The Stinger, she's right.
  • The Easter Bunny appears in the flesh in the first half of the Easter episode of Creative Galaxy, "Arty's Eggcellent Adventure / Hoppy Easter Dinner." Arty has to help him (her? It's not really made clear) out because the Easter eggs got broken when s/he accidentally dropped the basket.
  • The animated special The Jack Rabbit Story: Easter Fever had Jack Rabbit established as being the Easter Bunny and had everyone reminisce on his past adventures while he considers retirement.
  • The Tale of the Great Bunny had the titular rabbit kidnapped by the evil king of the weasels, who wanted all of his eggs. He's ultimately rescued by Abigail.
  • The TV Easter Special of Ice Age tells the story of the first Easter Bunny. As repayment for helping them recover the eggs stolen by ex-pirate bunny Squint, Sid offers Squint's brother Clint the job of painting eggs and hiding them every Easter.

  • Artist Penny Parker has done a few artwork featuring a cute bunny set around easter who are the Easter bunny.
  • Tsukiuta has an Easter Bunny illustration set, of course, because their mascot is a rabbit, so they'll take any excuse to get these boys in bunny ears. It features Hajime managing to still look kingly in that many shades of pastel, and Haru suggestively holding an Easter egg near his mouth.

    Real Life 
  • Many rabbits get purchased as gifts around Easter time. Frequently this ends badly as children are not prepared for taking care of rabbits. Many rabbits end in shelters, but other get abandoned which is a certain death sentence.
  • A man in an Easter Bunny costume achieved viral fame in 2019 after he viciously beat a man who was in the middle of a fight with a woman on a sidewalk in downtown Orlando. The man who was beaten had apparently instigated the fight, while the man in the bunny suit was apparently out barhopping with friends when he spotted the fight. As per the man in the costume, he was originally just going to try and break it up, but after the man spit at the woman (who was black, and so was the man in the bunny costume, which made it hit far too close to home for him), he decided that the man needed to be taught a lesson.
  • In the 1990s, Hallmark and Crayola co-created a holiday character known as "The Crayola Bunny". Crayola Bunny's job is to paint Easter eggs and making sure Easter turns out lovely every year. His girlfriend is a pink bunny who serves as his loyal companion and a female duckling as his close friend. The character occasionally makes live appearances at some Hallmark stores across America.


E. Aster Bunnymund

The Easter Bunny and Guardian of Hope.

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