Hare today — and tomorrow?

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A Carroll Gardens church is reviving a secular tradition — a visit from the Easter Bunny.

After parishioners got a taste of life without the chocolate-giving hare last year, the fuzzy egg-bearer will return to the Sacred Heart–St. Stephen’s Church this Saturday, March 15.

“Last year, we cancelled because there was no interest, but this year, we already have 75 people confirmed,” said St. Stephen’s member John Heyer.

Easter Bunny experts — and they are out there — say that the return of the non-religious symbol defies the recent trend away from the once-omnipresent hare. Indeed, fewer and fewer churches and shopping malls deploy a bunny to pose with kids (though the Kings Plaza Mall is bucking the trend by booking the bunny through March 31).

The Easter Bunny has always been something of a springtime Santa Claus — but St. Nick’s appeal never fades because gift-giving, no matter how hedonistic it can seem, is “associated with the public virtue of caring for children,” said Brother Owen Sadlier, a philosophy professor St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights.

Easter eggs were originally hard-boiled rewards in dyed shells for children for obeying the fast in 17th-century German areas. The hare was associated with the holiday because its reappearance in early spring coincided with Easter.

On March 15, the Easter Bunny will be at Sacred Heart–St. Stephen’s (108 Carroll St., at Hicks Street in Carroll Gardens), 11 am. Tickets are $15 per person (kids under 2 are free). Call (718) 596-7750 for info.

And catch the hare at Our Lady of Perpetual Help (526 59th St., between Fifth and Sixth avenues) on March 23 from 9–11 am. Call (718) 492-9200.

Updated 5:05 pm, July 9, 2018
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