Chocolate is fun– and who doesn’t like an egg hunt? But, for me, my favorite part of Easter (now that I have reached more mature years) is enjoying the vintage cards from the era when people put on their Easter bonnets and headed off for the Easter parade.
A little history… Greeting cards caught on in Europe after stamps became available in 1840 and a stationer in England decided to put an Easter greeting on a card with a rabbit and the idea rather grabbed the Victorians imagination. In 1898 only a few Easter postcards were sent but the idea caught on quickly and they soon became popular. Some postcards had religious themes but many were more secular using symbols both Christian and also pagan.
The tales of Peter Rabbit were published in 1902 by the beloved child author, Beatrix Potter, and anthropomorphic rabbits were assured a place in the imagination whenever young readers thought of spring gardens. Peter Rabbit and Peter Cottontail were interchangeable in my own mind when I was young, and it never occurred to me that egg delivery might be beyond the capabilities of rabbit.
The idea of the Easter Bunny delivering eggs was reinforced in 1949 when the song-writing team that wrote Frosty the Snowman released Here Comes Peter Cottontail. Rakin Bass contributed their bit to the bunny lore with their stop animation film Here Come Peter Cottontail in 1957.
Since the bunny is codified in American Easter lore, it might surprise many children to learn that in France, Easter eggs are delivered by church bells that fly off to Rome on Good Friday to be blessed and return with treats on Easter Sunday which they drop as they travel over the countryside. In Australia, egg delivery duty falls to the Easter Bilby, and in Norway, the task is left to the Easter Chick. In Sweden and Finland, the happy job goes to the Easter Witch. Which is all supremely silly and deserves a condescending snicker when we know that the whole job is really being handled by the Easter Bunny :-).