The traditions associated with rabbits and hares as signs of spring and fertility are very ancient, most of these traditions being closely associated with the farming year. Once again origins lie with Eostre the Anglo-Saxon goddess of Spring, whose sacred animal was a hare. The hare was an ancient sign of fertility and the rebirth of nature in the springtime.
Rabbits being more common than hares, these eventually replaced the hare in the traditions. Early Christians again incorporated the pagan symbols into their own newer religion, but instead of the Spring Hare it became the Easter Bunny in the UK. In parts of Europe the Easter Bunny is still known as the Easter Hare today. The name change to Easter Bunny in the UK possibly came about in the Middle ages when Christians believed hares brought bad luck and witches were thought to turn themselves into hares, possibly because of this the Easter Bunny is not as popular a symbol of Easter in the UK as the Easter Egg (also an ancient symbol of rebirth and fertility).
The idea of rebirth in these ancient Spring Festivals and in the case of Christianity the Resurrection of Christ after His death on Good Friday were incorporated to become celebrations of Easter as we know them today.
Wishing all our readers a very Happy Easter!