Finally, spring is here, and I want to celebrate it with a brand new and free paper toy for you, available for download at the end of the page.
I chose the rabbit because—according to the European tradition—it is the animal that symbolizes spring and Easter. The rabbit, or the Easter hare, brings the children a basket full of colored eggs, sweets, and games.
In Christian symbolism, the egg is associated with rebirth.
At Easter, in many parts of Europe, it is a tradition to decorate eggs and hide them for a fun treasure hunt.
In other European countries such as Italy, real eggs are replaced by chocolate eggs.
According to some, the first chocolate eggs appeared at the court of Louis XIV. Yet, others say they were invented in Turin, in North-West Italy. Here, in 1725, the pastry chef Giambone filled chicken eggshells with melted chocolate and displayed them in the shop window together with a live hen, amazing the passers-by. His invention was such a success! It’s only towards the end of the 19th century that a new chocolate recipe was perfected in the UK, allowing it to be modeled to create eggs like those we have today. In Italy, traditionally chocolate eggs contain a surprise: a toy or other small object, or, as in the egg I chose this year, chocolates because there is never enough!
I discovered some exciting things about rabbit symbology in other parts of the world:
for example, in the Central African legends, the common hare Kalulu is a trickster figure.
In East Asia, particularly in China, Korea, and Japan, a famous folklore animal is the moon rabbit, who lives on the moon. According to tradition, on the face of the full moon, you can see a rabbit working some sweets in a kitchen pestle. This figure, however, is not celebrated at Easter, but in autumn, during the Moon Festival (中秋節).
The rabbit is also one of the Chinese zodiac signs: those born under this sign are considered ambitious and good at business.
I think rabbits are adorable and not cowardly animals, as many claim. Every evening, during this time, I take a walk in areas where I know wild rabbits roam, and sometimes I’m lucky enough to see some!
The paper toy download is a gift, and it’s free! If you liked it and you want to see more of them, you can make a donation on my Ko-fi profile! Thanks!