Where did the Easter Bunny come from?

Hey there! We continue our Easter post series. 
Were you looking forward to receiving presents from the Easter Bunny as a child? Do you know where this tradition came from? Tell us your answer in the comments! smiley
The Easter Bunny (or Osterhase) is most likely a pagan tradition brought to the US by German immigrants. It is believed to have originated from German folk legends. German kids used to leave nests made from hats for the Bunny and expected to get he eggs as presents from it. The Bunny wasn't the only animal believed to bring gifts. In Hesse it was done by the fox, and in Bavaria by the cuckoo. Over time, the Bunny supplanted other animals and established itself in this symbolic meaning in all German-speaking countries. 
It was also considered a sacred animal to the Germanic goddess Eostre (Eastre), from whose name the word "Easter" comes in both English and German. And among the ancient Celts and Scandinavians, the hare was considered a symbol of the mother goddess. 
The Bunny, moreover, often appeared in the medieval Christian manuscripts. The monks associated this animal with the immaculate conception, since even from the works of Pliny and Plutarch the hares were believed to be hermaphrodites. 
According to one of the more modern legends, a poor German woman who did not have money to treat her children hid colored eggs in her garden, and when her children found a gift, a rabbit ran nearby. The kids decided that the rabbit left a present for them. 
From the beginning of the 18th century, this tradition came to the North America along with German colonists, mostly from the Palatinate, who settled compactly in Pennsylvania. 
The tradition finally took shape by the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. The Easter Bunny has become the character of modern folklore like Santa Claus. It is believed that the hare brings colorful eggs (now made from marzipan) as well as chocolate and other sweets to well-behaved children. On this day many people dress up as the Easter Bunny and give gifts to passers-by.