The Easter Bunny or Easter Hare (sometimes Spring Bunny in the U.S.) is a character depicted as rabbit bringing Easter eggs, who sometimes is depicted in an anthropomorphic way (e.g. with clothes). In legend, the creature brings baskets filled with colored eggs, candy and sometimes also toys to the homes of children on the night before Easter. The Easter Bunny will either put the baskets in a designated place or hide them somewhere in the house or garden for the children to find when they wake up in the morning.
The Easter Bunny is very similar in trait to its Christmas holiday counterpart, Santa Claus, as they both bring gifts to good children on the night before their respective holiday. It was first mentioned in Georg Franck von Frankenau's De ovis paschalibus (About the Easter Egg) referring to an Alsace tradition of an Easter Hare bringing Easter Eggs (and the negative impact of too much egg consumption).
The Easter Bunny as an Easter symbol bringing Easter eggs seems to have its origins in Alsace and the Upper Rhineland, both then in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, and southwestern Germany, where it was first recorded in a German publication in the early 1600s. The first edible Easter Bunnies were made in Germany during the early 1800s and were made of pastry and sugar.
Eggs, like rabbits and hares, are fertility symbols of extreme antiquity. Since birds lay eggs and rabbits and hares give birth to large litters in the early spring, these became symbols of the rising fertility of the earth at the Vernal Equinox.
The precise origin of the ancient custom of coloring eggs is not known, although evidently the blooming of many flowers in spring coincides with the use of the fertility symbol of eggs - and eggs boiled with some flowers change their color, bringing the spring into the homes. Many Christians of the Eastern Orthodox Church to this day typically dye their Easter eggs red, the color of blood, in recognition of the blood of the sacrificed Christ (and, of the renewal of life in springtime). Some also use the color green, in honor of the new foliage emerging after the long dead time of winter.
Easter has become a commercially celebrated event, with shops and media advertising Easter around Spring. The Easter Bunny is usually a big part of Easter for younger children, so, it often appears on Easter commercials. The Easter Bunny is also featured a lot on Easter TV specials, and in Easter themed films, such as Here Comes Peter Cottontail: The Movie.