The story of the Easter Bunny is thought to have become common in the 19th Century; because rabbits give birth to a big litter of kittens, it became a symbol of new life. Legend became that the Easter Bunny lays, decorates and hides eggs [also traditionally a symbol of new life.] Weird seeing as bunnies don’t actually lay eggs. However – in Switzerland, Easter eggs are delivered by a cuckoo and in parts of Germany by a fox.
So why in Australia do we STILL have an introduced, feral animal delivering our Easter eggs?
Why not engage some of our native wildlife to do it?
We are a nation of cute and cuddly looking bettongs, bilbies and bandicoots. Dunnarts, Hopping Mice and Woylies. Bilbies may not give birth to huge litters of joeys – but they are certainly nocturnal, very cute and could get some wee eggs in those pouches.
Maybe a Mala, the Rufus Hare Wallaby would be a better choice – more chocolate in her pouch. Her diet gives her enough moisture so she won’t need to stop for a drink. Found only in Australia – Monotremes, or egg laying mammals such as the famed and elusive Platypus and Echidna could certainly be Easter mascots. Easter Echidna sounds catchy. Although the platypus would be more suited for a flooded Easter celebration.
Surely we can start to re-write the narrative of Easter to include some of our weird and wonderful Australian species – to create a culture of positive awareness around our threatened species rather than celebrate our feral ones.
Conservationists can dedicate their entire lives to saving a species, but if we don’t realise they even exist – why will the next generation want to protect them?
If new customs are created to celebrate our endangered species, and our own wildlife becomes an integrated part of daily life then surely as a nation this positive exposure will help to inspire awareness to preserve our natural heritage.
Penny Gale is the Creative Director behind Fabriculture – a design brand aiming to help children learn about threatened and unusual Australian species through play.