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Bunny Beads, Pendants and Jewelry

March 9, 2014 , In: General, Inspiration
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With Easter decorations already in the stores and the White House opening their lottery for tickets to the 136th annual White House Easter Egg Roll, I thought I’d get into the spirit of things by sharing some history about the Easter Rabbit and showing off some cool rabbit themed jewelry, beads and pendants.

The whole thing about a bunny bringing eggs has never made sense to me.  And what in the world does that have to do with the Christian meaning of Easter?  It seems even more far fetched than Santa Claus.  Here’s what I found out.

Long ago, people noted the links between a woman’s cycles that were linked to birth, and the cycles of the moon. Very old records from Asia indicate that the hare was the symbol of the moon. So it followed that the moon and the hare both became the symbol of birth, rebirth and life after death. 

Lunar Hare by Jenny Davies-Reazor

Many
ancient cultures held spring festivals to celebrate the renewal of life and to promote
fertility. One of these festivals, in what is now Northern Europe, was in honor
of Eostre or Eastre, the goddess of dawn, spring and fertility. Her symbol was the rabbit, a most fertile animal and a symbol of new life.  Many people think that the modern feast of Easter had its roots in the springtime feasts to honor Eastre.

 Hare cabochon by Blueberribeads

Later, as Christianity spread, it was common for missionaries to place some of the popular ideas and rituals of the day, within the context of Christian belief.  The Eostre festival occurred around the same time as the Christian celebration of Christ’s resurrection, so it would seem only natural that the people would bring the hare and egg images with them to their new faith.  Germanic,
pagan, spring traditions and Christian resurrection traditions were quickly
melded together as Roman Catholicism became the dominant religion in the region
around the 15th century.

Little Bunny Rabbit Bead by Tree Wings Studio

The first Easter Bunny legend was documented in the 1500s. By 1680, the
first story about a rabbit laying eggs and hiding them in a garden was
published. These legends were brought to the United States in the 1700s, when
German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country and brought their tradition of an egg-laying hare called “Osterhase”
or “Oschter Haws.”  Their children made nests in which this creature
could lay its colored eggs. 

Sweet Bunny Bracelet by Linda Landig Jewelry

The children
would build their nest in a secluded place in the home, the barn or the garden.
Boys would use their caps and girls their bonnets to make the nests. The use
of elaborate Easter baskets would come later as the
tradition of the Easter bunny spread through out the country. 

Faux Bronze Bunny pendant (polymer clay) by Studiotambria

I hope you’ve found this little bit of history interesting and that you’ve been inspired by the jewelry and components that I’ve included here.  I put together a Treasury list on Etsy that includes these rabbits and hares, plus many more.  You can check it out by clicking here:  “Hop To It!”

Linda
Linda Landig Jewelry – ArtFire 

Linda Landig Jewelry – Etsy

Linda Landig

Linda Landig has been designing jewelry for over 30 years. Color play is the driving force in her work, closely followed by an obsession with texture. Linda soon discovered that art beads could provide much of the color and texture she sought. Linda has an affinity for floral themes, dating back to childhood efforts to raise irises. She has taken courses in metalsmithing and lampwork, but it is ceramics that has captured her heart. Linda has two adult children and lives in Olympia, WA with her husband of 42 years.
  1. Reply

    Really interesting! I had no idea.

  2. Reply

    Some cute jewellery. actually I love them.

  3. Reply

    Really interesting post Linda! I didn't know that about the nests!
    Thanks for featuring my hare in your post.

  4. Reply

    What an awesome look into this tradition!

  5. Reply

    I really loved this post. I had no idea why there was an easter bunny. It's sad how the origin of traditions are forgotten over time.

  6. Reply

    Wonderful handmade components and a history lesson to boot!! Great post Linda!

  7. Reply

    Great history lesson! Love the beads you found.

  8. Reply

    Great post – I love hearing about the background of a symbol. And the example beads / jewelry are awesome. 🙂

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