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Hoppin' Through History: The Tale of the Chocolate Easter Bunny

two chocolate bunnies with a paper carrot on a pink background

guest post by ashley schuering -

We’ve nearly made it to Easter — a time of renewal, celebration, and, of course, chocolate. Among the myriad traditions associated with this holiday, the chocolate Easter bunny holds a special place in our hearts (and Easter baskets!). But have you ever wondered how this confectionery critter became a holiday icon? Grab a cup of
drinking chocolate, and let's hop through the history together.

From Pagan Goddess to Egg-Laying Bunnies

The history of the Easter bunny begins in ancient times with Eostre, the Anglo-Saxon pagan goddess of spring and fertility. Her symbol was a rabbit, known for its vivacious fecundity. Interestingly enough, many folks believed that rabbits were able to procreate asexually — this may have made it easier for Christians to adopt the pagan symbol, as Mary was a virgin mother. 

As Christianity spread, Eostre's celebration of spring blended with Jesus' resurrection. The bunny hopped along for the ride, evolving into a symbol of new life.

The Osterhase Hops In

Fast forward to 13th-century Germany, where the tale of the Osterhase, or Easter hare, first emerged. This folklore creature was said to lay colorful eggs for children who laid out nests for them. Eggs have been associated with fertility and life since ancient times, so the dual symbolism of an egg-laying rabbit makes sense!

Back in the day, eggs were prohibited during Lent, so decorating them for Easter was a way of celebrating the end of the fasting period while folding in old pagan folklore. German immigrants known as the "Pennsylvania Dutch" brought the charming tradition of painting Easter eggs to America when they emigrated in the 1700's, where it was warmly embraced and expanded.

The Chocolate Bunny Takes Shape

But when did chocolate enter the Easter picture? Milk chocolate was invented in 1879, which changed how chocolate was produced, packaged, and eaten. Before this invention (and the resulting machinery developed to produce it), chocolate was primarily a drink. Afterward, chocolate bars, bon-bons, and other chocolate treats took hold of the market.

By 1890, the very first Easter chocolate bunny was crafted in Germany. That same year, a Pennsylvania drug store owner used a 5-foot tall chocolate bunny as an enticement for curious customers who were greeted by smaller-sized bunnies they could purchase. News of these adorable new confections spread, causing sales of chocolate bunny treats to surge. By the early 20th century, these chocolate treats had become synonymous with the Easter holiday.

Hollow Hares: Why Most Chocolate Bunnies Are Empty

Ever been disappointed by a hollow chocolate Easter bunny? You shouldn’t be! Solid chocolate bunnies were all the rage when they came on the confectionery scene, and it wasn't until the 1930's that molds were developed to make them hollow. 

While you might think this move to thin out the bunnies was a corporate greed-inspired scam, it was actually a welcome revelation for everyone involved. Yes, making them hollow reduced chocolate producers' costs, as well as made them quicker to produce and lighter to ship. 

But have you ever tried to chomp your way through a full inch of chocolate? It’s no easy feat! It’s much easier to eat a hollow rather than a solid chocolate Easter bunny, meaning there’s less chance that you’ll chip a tooth. 

Chuao's Hopping Popping Bunny Bars: A Modern Twist

In the spirit of sweet innovation, Chuao Chocolatier has taken the chocolate Easter bunny tradition to new heights. Meet our Hopping Popping Bunny Bars – a modern twist on the classic that will bring smiles to kids and adults alike. Milk chocolate is laced with popping candy and shaped like a rabbit, so each bite literally hops across your tongue!

Hop to It: Easter's Calling!

Now that you're a chocolate Easter bunny expert, why not make this year's celebration extra special with Chuao’s Springtime Collection? Just remember to place your order by the week before Easter (that's March 31st this year, folks!) to ensure the very best chocolate easter bunny hops into your basket on time.

So there you have it, friends – a journey from ancient festivals to modern-day treats. This Easter, as you take the first bite of those chocolate ears, take a moment to savor the rich history and the sweet innovation that brought them into your hands. Happy Easter, and happy snacking!

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