When did the Easter bunny become part of the tradition of the religious Easter holiday? Easter began to be observed hundreds of years ago to commemorate the rising of Christ from the dead, and it has gradually become associated with the themes of the renewal of life in nature and flowers.
It was not until about the 18th century that the Easter egg became part of the celebration. The egg has long been a symbol of eternal life, and decorating and hunting for eggs became part of the symbolism of the holiday.
As years passed, cardboard and papier-mâché eggs were used, then real eggshells with the liquid egg blown out through a small hole. Other countries used sugar eggs, wooden eggs and eventually plastic. All eggs were decorated.
Soon there were Easter egg hunts and Easter egg rolls, but still no Easter bunny.
During the early 18th century, the Pennsylvania Germans suggested that in spring, the Easter Bunny would hide eggs or perhaps put them in an upside-down hat that was left out overnight. That custom soon grew to using not just a hat, but a basket to be filled with eggs, candy and fake green grass.
By the 20th century, there were stuffed-toy Easter bunnies, porcelain figurines of bunnies and a German business making papier-mâché and cardboard Easter bunny candy containers, which were sold in the U.S. and filled with candy. By the 1920s, there were tin or glass candy containers shaped like bunnies and other Easter symbols and, of course, toys.
Holiday collecting is becoming more popular. Easter items include religious pictures and memorabilia, baskets, bunnies, chicks, ducks, nut cups, place cards, postcards and store advertising featuring Easter themes. Prices have gone down and up since 1980.
Curved horn chair
Q: I have a chair that looks like it is made of long, curved horns. When and where were these used?
A: You have a very American chair. Chairs made of buffalo, elk or Texas longhorn steer horns were made from horns left behind at the slaughterhouses or discarded by hunters. The horns had a graceful curved shape and when positioned carefully, they created a chair frame with a curved back, legs and arms. An upholstered seat was added and, in some cases, some trim from other pieces of horn. Matching footstools also were made.
The chairs were not made for comfort, but were popular with hunters and those who wanted memories of the Old West. Photos show that President Teddy Roosevelt and President Abraham Lincoln both had horn chairs that were gifts. Your chair could bring $1,000 or more at auction.
Write to: The Kovels, c/o King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019. The website is kovels.com.
Prices are from shows nationwide.
Thimble case, egg-shaped, papier-mâché, turquoise blue with pink cherry blossoms, gilt highlights, silk-lined, about 1905, 1 by 2 inches, $25.
Sunbonnet Babies bonbon dish, Thursday Scrubbing, two girls cleaning, gold-tone center handle, triangular, about 1910, 7 1/4 inches, $85.
Watering can, Toleware, cream with brown and green cattails, tapered cylinder, dome base, top handle, 1800s, 10 inches, $150.
Hall tree, carved wood, brass hooks, mirror, molded cornice, baluster turned supports, shelf, lift top box, 1800s, 89 by 43 inches, $2,750.