Sacred rabbits

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DURING Easter the laws of nature seem to get rewritten with bunny’s seemingly laying, or at least bringing, eggs. So, how did rabbits and eggs get mixed up with the Easter Christian holiday about the crucifixion? Hares, rabbits and eggs were sacred fertility symbols in ancient times and were associated with the springtime; the rebirth of nature after winter.

There is a story written by the Venerable Bede 1,300 years ago about the Anglo-Saxon Goddess of Spring Eostre whose sacred animal was the hare, but there is no firm evidence other than this tale.

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Throughout the ages eggs have been considered symbols of new life and fertility and used during spring festivals.

Eggs were forbidden during Lent in Medieval Europe, so those that were laid were often boiled or otherwise preserved and then eaten at the Easter meal and given as gifts to children and servants.


Rabbit facts

  • A male rabbit is called a buck, a female rabbit a doe and a baby rabbit a kit.
  • A group of rabbits is called a herd and they live in a warren.
  • Doe’s are pregnant for 31 days; their litters are born without fur, are fed about five minutes a day and are weaned at about eight weeks.
  • They can begin breeding as early as three-months-old.
  • Their 28 teeth never stop growing and they cannot vomit.
  • They can purr like a cat and can be litter trained.
  • A 1.8kg rabbit will drink as much as a 9kg dog.
  • They eat their own night droppings called cecotropes.
  • While they can see behind them, they have a blind spot in front of their face.
  • When happy, they will jump and twist, this is called a binky.

 

 


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