Here’s a question for you: Why are rabbits such a prominent symbol of a holiday that celebrates Jesus’ resurrection? And while we’re on the subject, why are those rabbits often made out of chocolate?
As you might have guessed, rabbits have less to do with Jesus and more to do with the season. Since pagan times, rabbits have been closely associated with spring and fertility because they tend to be, well, quite fertile right around this time of year. Oddly enough, in ancient times it was believed that rabbits could reproduce without mating, which reminded early Christians of another immaculate conception.
The concept of the Easter bunny as we know it today came into being in the 1600s in Germany, and by the mid-1800s, with German immigrants firmly ensconced in the U.S. and chocolate (more or less) readily available, some enterprising chocolatiers decided to mold them out of chocolate. The tradition really caught on in 1890, when a Pennsylvania drugstore owner named Robert Strohecker placed a five-foot-tall chocolate bunny in his display window.
Chocolate bunnies were actually traditionally made out of solid chocolate until the 1940s, when World War II rationing necessitated the change to the now-common hollow form.