SIKESTON - To Christians, Easter is a celebration of the life and resurrection of Christ.
To many communities, it is the time of year to host springtime festivals.
And to children and the young at heart, it means receiving a delivery from a very special rabbit.
The Easter Bunny's origin is in pre-Christian fertility lore. The hare and the rabbit, the most fertile animals known, served as symbols of new life during the spring season.
According to EasterBunny's.Net, he was first introduced to American folklore by the German settlers who arrived in the 1700s in the Pennsylvania Dutch country. The children believed that if they were good, the "Oschter Haws" would lay a nest of colored eggs.
Although they may not know the history behind him, several local young people have some insight of their own to share about the Easter Bunny.
Mary Kendig isn't so sure the general public realizes what a tough job it is being the Easter Bunny. After all, she pointed out, he had to start out at 11 p.m. Saturday to make all his deliveries.
"He brings the Easter baskets the night before to good boys and girls," noted 4-year-old Crystal Sharp.
Mary says his main responsibility is to bring presents and hide Easter eggs outside. "Little children dye the eggs using any color they want and they put them in the refrigerator. Then the Easter Bunny comes and gets them out so he can hide them," Mary said matter-of-factly.
How he obtains the candy and the baskets is another story. The 8-year-old said Santa comes back to give them to the Easter Bunny to leave. After all, she said, that's what best friends are for.
"I think the Easter Bunny is a boy, I've never see girl rabbits," Mary reasoned.
Mary said her Easter basket usually is filled with candy, as well as Digimon and VeggieTales tapes. "I know what kind of candy I like but you never know what he's going to bring you."
Crystal said she liked to find chocolate rabbits and toys in her basket, like the one she received last year that was an Easter Bunny whose head pops off when it's squeezed.
Mary is pretty sure the Easter Bunny comes back every year to collect everyone's baskets and keeps them until the next Easter holiday.
Then there is 8-year-old Isaac Protzel who said he thinks there's more to the Easter Bunny that what some people think. "I think he is my mom and dad and one of them goes to the store late at night while we're asleep and the other stays at home and watches over us," he said. "They can go late at night because there's Walmart, open 24 hours. I also think they hide the candy up in the attic and every year the candy is totally different."
But his two younger brothers, Alexander and Ethan, don't necessarily agree. "I think the Easter Bunny brings us Easter eggs," said Ethan, age 4. "He brings candy and toys to good boys and girls."
The children also have their own ideas about what the Easter bunny looks like. "I think he has a nice bow on his neck, whiskers and a nice smile," said Mary. "And I think he has a family, that's how he knows what children like."
"I think he has a brother and a sister," added Crystal. "He has ears and doesn't wear clothes," chimed in Ethan.
"And he eats eggs and orange juice," Crystal said.
As one final note, Crystal had a suggestion for boys and girls who might be getting their first Easter Basket next year: "Go to bed when your mom and dad tells you."