The article below was originally posted in 2006 in a local newspaper called Leisure Life. I dug it out of my archives to re-post for Easter.
Bunnies Don’t Wear Bonnets
Have you ever seen a rabbit wearing a cute flowered dress, donning a fancy hat or laying eggs? Well, I haven’t, yet Easter seems to have some strange connection to these cuddly and adorable creatures.
Easter has customs with very ancient and nearly universal origins, yet I was confused as to why rabbits are of any significance with this Holiday. My search into the history of why rabbits are thought to make great Easter gifts led me to computer web sites, the local library and a clergyman. One thought was that the hare signifies fertility, which leads to spring, another had something to do with the lunar aspect of the moon and yet another claims that artists used hares or rabbits in their Easter art work, stories and fables. Yet none of these sources gave me the answer to my question, why are rabbits given as Easter gifts?
It seems today, there is not much cultural awareness in regards to the origins of these once popular myths, so marketing has taken over where tradition once stood.
The domesticated house rabbit are usually purchased from a breeder or pet store, given as a harmless, soft, fun loving gift for a child to hold, carry and cuddle, much like a stuffed toy. What the new pet parent doesn’t know it that Thumper and Bugs are actually frightened bundles of nervous energy that can scratch and bite when restrained.
The average rabbit can live up to or over ten years. There are many varieties to choose from with sizes ranging from about three to fifteen pounds. They are very social creatures
and thrive on attention. They like to romp, play, dig, chew and don’t live on carrots alone. These prolific animals need a well balanced diet of pellets, fresh vegetables as well as certain vitamins and minerals.
It seems as if these impulse purchased pets are showered with attention for a few weeks then virtually forgotten about in an outdoor pen to live a life of solitary confinement with an occasional rub of the ears. There are also people who think that rabbits can survive like their ancestors, the wild hare, and cast these timid fur balls into the woods or parks, expecting them to fend for themselves, once their novelty has worn off. In the urban wild, life expectancy or these released pets can be very short. They cannot forage for food like their ancient relatives, and dogs, cats, cars and other hazards can cause a quick demise.
This is not to say that some bunny parents don’t love and adore their sensitive, intelligent, social companions, but they know the responsibility and commitment that it takes to care for their furry little friends.
So with Easter fast approaching and the children pleading for a cute floppy, lopped, long eared bunny, ask yourself this question, why are rabbits given as Easter gifts?