So in the spirit of easter…. (and of course we wish you a happy one)
Now, lest I be remise and be chastised for the true meaning of Easter this post is only in fun. However I was curious so I looked up the origins of said Easter Eggs (well as much as wikipedia would give me) and I did learn something. So my Easter gift to you is that same knowledge so you can perhaps impress someone with it as well. So here goes…
The Easter egg tradition seems to have started with Lent (in primarily Western Christianity). Eggs were originally forbidden during Lent as both meat and dairy were forbidden during the Lenten fast and eggs were seen as a “dairy” (in that time meaning a foodstuff that could be taken from an animal without shedding its blood). This in turn started another tradition being the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday when Lent begins. On that last Tuesday they would eat a large amount of eggs, meat and dairy before the fast and so it became known as “Fat Tuesday” or Mardi Gras.
With the coming of Easter, the eating of eggs resumed and since chickens did not stop laying eggs during that time there was a surplus for the feast. In addition in Christianty the Easter Eggs were dyed red to represent the blood of Christ and the hard shell off the egg symbolized the sealed Tomb of Christ – the cracking of which symbolized his resurrection from the dead. The decoration kind of grew from there to show tokens of friendship, love or good wishes.
In legends apparently a sacred tradition among followers of Eastern Christianity state that Mary Magdalene was bringing cooked eggs to share with the other women at the tomb of Jesus, and the eggs in her basket miraculously turned brilliant red when she saw the risen Christ. Similarly another legend goes that when Mary Magdalene told the Emperor of Rome that “Christ has risen”, he pointed to an egg on his table and stated, “Christ has no more risen than that egg is red” of course which after that statement the egg immediately turned blood red.
Lest Christianity have all the eggciting fun many cultures you the egg as a symbol of the start of new life and is synonymous with spring and the Spring equinox.
With Easter you can’t forget the Rabbit/Bunny/Hare. The idea of an egg-laying bunny apparently came to the US in the 18th Century with German Immigrants and Protestants who wanted to retain the custom of colored eggs for Easter but did not want to include the Catholic rite of fasting. So the legend grew of the “osterhase” (Easter Hare/rabbit/bunny) where good children received gifts of colored eggs in the nests that they made in their caps and bonnets before Easter.
The hare is also a sign of spring which is likened to fertility and rebirth, and even religion. Looks like in ancient times it was though that the hare was a hermaphodite (named after the offspring of hermes and aphrodite the goddess of fertility) and the (albeit faulty) idea that a hare could reproduce without the loss of virginity led to an association with the Virgin Mary and so was in many illuminated manuscripts. Hares likened to fertility makes sense, given the rabbits propensity to…um make many many little bunnies. Combine that with the egg as a sign of new life….boom you gots a egg laying bunny, or at the very least a bunny that associates with chicks.
Whatever your religious beliefs, I hope you have a good weekend and perhaps time with friends and family.