The Easter Fox or Osterfuchs was around long before the Easter Bunny.
The Easter Bunny and its forerunner, the Easter Hare, weren’t the only egg-bringers.
A note of 1904 from the Schaumburg, Germany is quite specific that the eggs were laid by the Easter Fox.
On Holy Saturday the children would prepare a cozy nest of hay and moss for the Easter Fox.
They also made sure that the fox wasn’t disturbed during his visit.
For example, they shut up pets for the night.
Why so foxy?
The Easter Fox may have been based on the Pentecostal fox.
This is an old custom in which people at Pentecost went with a pet fox from house to house to collect donations.
Another possibility is that dying Easter eggs with onions or onion skins gave the eggs a foxy reddish-brown tint.
Or maybe the Easter Fox relates to their notorious habit of stealing and burying eggs.
For the Birds
More logically, given the whole laying egg thing, some countries opt for the Easter chick, rooster or stork.
Swiss children believe the cuckoo brings Easter eggs.
Other popular birds are the Tyrolese Easter chicken and the rooster of Schleswig-Holstein, which lays red eggs on Easter morning.
Parts of Saxony have the tradition of the Easter Rooster (Osterhahn), and Thuringia still has the Easter Stork (Osterstorch).
These animals are getting less and less delivery business.
Meanwhile, the Easter Bunny is the amazon.com of the Easter egg pack.
The Easter Bunny myth may have arisen from Eostre or Ostara, a widely worshiped goddess in Northern Europe.
The only reason anyone thinks Eostre had a rabbit (or hare) companion is because of Jacob Grimm.
In Deustsche Mythologie he says ‘Probably the hare was the sacred animal of Ostara’ without any direct evidence at all.
In fact, there’s no more evidence that Eostre/Ostara had a hare companion than a fox companion.
Since the fox tradition seems to be older, why not give her a fox?
Siobhan is a freelance writer, research addict and lover of twisted history. If you like horrible but amazing history, check out her website www.interesly.com or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/interesly. Or you can reach her through www.siobhanoshea.com.