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Copyright 2007

The Easter Bilby


Easter is in some ways a combination of two celebrations.

For Christians, Easter is all about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. These events symbolise the rebirth eternal life of mankind . As Priests began spreading the word of God and Jesus, they used symbols to explain their stories.

In the northern hemisphere, Easter is at the same time as spring begins. Spring is the season of new life and hope, and was celebrated annually in many pagan cultures.

Being spring and new, the season works in well with the rebirth of Christians and they slowly became one celebration.

The Easter Mascots

From the association with spring and new life, furry mammals became part of many cultureís Easter traditions. In America and Canada, the Easter Bunny delivers eggs to the children; in the UK, the Easter Hare delivers the eggs. The Italians, French and Belgians believe the church bells drop off the eggs as they return from Rome on Good Sunday.

In Australia, Easter Bunnies have often been attributed the task of delivering Easter Eggs to children. However, rabbits are a nuisance and an introduced animal in Australia. Many people, especially farmers, are not enthusiastic about rabbits being honoured in this way.

Thus, Australians often talk about the Easter Bilby instead of the Easter Bunny.

What Is A Bilby?

A Bilby, like a rabbit, is a mammal. It is a marsupial and belongs to the bandicoot family. They have long hairless ears and powerful front paws for digging.

Bilbies donít drink much water and eat termites, honey ants, bulbs, insects, spiders, fungi and seeds.

Unfortunately, there are only about 600 Bilbies left in Australia and this number is decreasing. They are already extinct in Victoria and NSW, and heading that way in Queensland.

Efforts are being made to save the Bilby. The recognition gained by being our Easter mascot and the funds raised through Chocolate Easter Bilbies are helping protect the remaining animals.

How can the Easter Bilby take over?

It is the Easter Bunny that is most widely known, and commercialised. It will take an overall effort for the Bilby to become our Easter symbol, and it will take time to overcome the Bunny associations.

As children will see the Bunny everywhere, and hear of it, some parents think it is too hard to change this. However, it really is simple; and the more people introducing the Bilby the easier it gets.

Children will not find it hard to believe that the Easter Bunny is very tired and finds it too hard to deliver eggs to all the children in the world. Thus, they can accept that the Bilby helps the Bunny by delivering all the Australian eggs.

Not only is the Bilby cute and native to our shores, by accepting the Easter Bilby, we may actually prevent another animal becoming extinct.

So, letís encourage the Easter Bilby across Australia!


For more information about the threatened Bilby, visit the Australian Bilby Appreciation Society and the Easter Bilby Site.



Tash Hughes is a Mum of four in Melbourne. She is also a writer and owner of Word Constructions. Tash is available to write articles and profiles for any business, as well as doing other business documentation projects. You can see her site and services at www.wordconstructions.com.au




See our Easter special feature.


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