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South Salt Lake Journal

The Easter Bunny comes to SSL

Apr 26, 2021 12:25PM ● By Bill Hardesty

The Easter Bunny delivers an armful of treats for children. (Bill Hardesty/City Journals)

By Bill Hardesty | [email protected]

Even a pandemic can’t keep the Easter Bunny away who showed up at the Columbus Center on April 3 for an Easter Bunny drive-by. The celebration was sponsored by the South Salt Lake Recreation Department in conjunction with Promise SSL and the mayor’s office.

The Fay family was first in line, after waiting for an hour for the celebration to begin. 

“It’s cool,” said Aaron Wiet, SSL Recreation director. “It isn’t like our usual egg hunt, but it still gives families an opportunity to see the Easter Bunny.”

With shouts of “There is the bunny” and “Mommy, let’s go,” children received a bag of candy from a Recreation Department employee while the Easter Bunny danced to a variety of non-Easter tunes.

Promise SSL gave away coloring books and crayons to each family, plus bags full of activities geared for 3- to 6-year-olds.

SSL Mayor Cherie Wood was also part of the line, giving away flower seeds to attract butterflies around homes.

The city was expecting 250 cars. However, only about 50 cars came. Organizers realized the activity was competing with a warm, beautiful spring day, Granite School District’s spring break, the General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and pandemic fatigue.

Origin of the Easter Bunny

The Easter Bunny doesn’t have Christian origins, even though it is associated with one of the holiest Christian celebrations.

A popular theory is that Easter started as an ancient pagan celebration—the festival of Eostre, honoring the goddess of fertility and spring. It is believed the goddess’s animal symbol was a rabbit because of their high rate of reproduction.

The Easter Bunny tradition in America came by way of German immigrants in the 1700s. They brought over the story of an egg-laying hare named “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws.” The story goes that the rabbit would lay colorful eggs as gifts for the good children. In turn, children would make nests for the eggs. They sometimes would set out carrots for the rabbit.

The idea of a mammal laying eggs is the stuff of traditions. Eggs have long been an ancient symbol of fertility, rebirth and a new life, which sound like ideas for a springtime celebration. It is believed colorful eggs date back to the 13th-century. Eggs were a typical food forbidden during Lent. People decorated eggs as the fasting period came to an end and ate them as part of their Easter celebration.