Monday, 30 March 2015

A bit about Easter

Good afternoon, how has everyone been? I have had a good weekend doing this and that, we had plans to go to the Reptile Park with Jessica and Leo but as Jessica was sick we cancelled and we will do it in a few weeks time.

So next weekend is Easter, did you know that Easter is considered to be the most important and oldest festival of the Christian Church. It is the time when we celebrate the resurrection of Christ and held in the Western Church between the 21st March and 25th of April the date is based on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the northern spring equinox. This I found out via Google.

Now I am sure most people when they think of Easter think of the Easter Bunny and chocolate, but have you ever wondered what the hell is with the Easter Bunny, like what does a rabbit have to do with Easter. You may think this is some kind of modern invention but you would be wrong, most popular Easter traditions have their roots way back in history, like the Easter Bunny.

In fact the Easter Bunny can be traced back to ancient Anglo-Saxon times, way back when the hare was an important symbol of fertility so it played an important role in the pagan festival of Eostre, whatever that was.

Legend claims that this mystical goddess found a wounded bird and turned it into a hare so it could survive the winter. When this very same hare found it could lay eggs it made a gift of its eggs to the goddess who had protected him. And so the tradition of the Easter hare, or bunny was born.

Eggs have been an important fertility symbol for millennia,and they have always been associated with the rebirth of spring. And as eggs are associated with new life early Christians used them as
a visual symbol of the resurrection of Jesus. When people first starting giving eggs as offerings and gifts at Easter time they used birds eggs. They were painted bright colours to echo the vibrancy of the colours of spring after the darkness of winter.

In the UK and Europe early Easter eggs took the form of duck, hen or goose eggs. These were later replaced by artificial eggs until eventually, as chocolate became a more widely available foodstuff, the first chocolate eggs began to appear, in the early 1800s. The vogue for exchanging chocolate eggs at Easter quickly spread right across the globe so that by the end of the century chocolate eggs became the ubiquitous Easter offering.

Have you heard of egg rolling the tradition of egg rolling on Easter Monday dates back to Anglo-Saxon Germany. Although historians are unsure of the exact significance of egg rolling, it's believed that for the early pagans the activity was seen as a way of bringing new life to the land at springtime. For early Christians, meanwhile, egg rolling could have been a representation of the stone being rolled away from Jesus' tomb.

The tradition of eating hot cross buns on Good Friday has its roots even further back than early Christianity. Buns marked with a cross were eaten by the Saxons during their spring celebrations - it's believed that the bun represented the moon and the cross the moon's quarters. Christians continued the tradition but to them the cross symbolises the Jesus' crucifixion.

Although chocolate eggs tend to the gift of choice at Easter time today, coloured, decorated eggs have also been an important symbol and gift shared at Easter time. The tradition of colouring and decorating eggs dates back to the Middle Ages when eggs would be painted bright colours to welcome in the new spring. The tradition continued and was adapted by different countries; in Germany, for example, it remains a tradition to paint eggs green and eat them on Maundy Thursday while in Greece and the Balkans eggs are dyed red to symbolise the blood of Christ.
But the most elaborate take on the tradition came from Russia, where in the late 1800s/early 1900s Russian aristocracy commissioned the French jeweller Faberge to create an egg like no other, fashioned from enamel and encrusted with the most dazzling jewels. These incredible Easter gifts are worth millions of pounds today!

The special fruit cake eaten at Easter, known as Simnel cake, is steeped in traditional symbolism. Traditionally the cake has a layer of marzipan on top and is decorated with marzipan balls - these symbolise the disciples, though Judas is left out and only 11 balls are added to the cake.


whiteangel said...

Thanks for all of that....I'm more enlightened now. It's really interesting.

CWMartin said...

I never knew that about the goddess turning the bird into a hare. I'd always been told the bunny was just a symbol of spring. At least this makes sense.

Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder said...

Dearest Jo-Anne,
Yes, those are ancient symbols that have passed from generation to generation. We enjoyed yesterday the movie 'Killing Jesus' and it was incredible!
It is after the book from Bill O'Reilly and an instant success with National Geographic record views of 3.7 million!
Sending you hugs,

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

Your welcome

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

I didn't either the post started because I wondered what bunnies had to do with Easter

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

I have seen adds for something on Nat Geo for something called Killing Jesus which I thought looked interesting

Now it's dads turn

Guess what, yesterday morning my sister Sandra rings to let me know she had to ring the ambos for dad, he was having trouble breathing an...