Ahhhhhh!!! Easter /Eastre – resurrecting memories, eggs and crabs
UPDATE: Lisa has taken her comments about the “hare- brained idea” and posted- check it outhttp://bustershouse.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/as-seen-in-lorain-bunnies-as-prizes-is-wrong/#comments
AND I HAVE REMOVED THE EVENT FROM THIS POST AS MY MY OWN PROTEST
ED. Note This years Easter Egg hunt in Lorain Lakeview Park – April 7th 2012 – 10-11 am- The Easter Bunny is coming to Lakeview! Bring your own basket, a camera and be sure to dress for the weather. Egg hunt for children ages 2-11yrs.
Easter was always a great time growing up- the Easter holiday in England lasted for days and days – I don’t remember much about church though – although I am a pretty good organizer I don’t like to be “organized” as stated in my series here:
organized religion left me “wondering and questioning”. But that isn’t to say I didn’t take full advantage of the “holidays -no matter the culture or the origin!
As it turns out, the Easter bunny has a long history as a pagan symbol that predates the Christian holiday. In fact, sources suggest that early Christians purposefully co-opted the pagan hare to popularize their own holiday. In the second century A.D., Christian missionaries tried to convert northern European tribes. To help make Christianity attractive, the missionaries turned pagan festivals into Christian holidays. The pagan Eastre festival occurred around the same time as the Christian celebration marking Christ’s resurrection so the two celebrations blended into one, rabbit and all.
Quite a few pagan cultures hold celebrations in the spring. It’s the time of year when plants return to life after being dormant all winter and when animals mate and procreate. These festivities celebrate the renewal of life and promote the fertility of crops, animals, and even people, which was important in these agrarian communities. The Saxons believed in a maiden goddess of fertility named Eastre or Eostre (Oestre in Latin) and honored her with a spring festival. Hares and rabbits were considered sacred to Eastre because they are notoriously fertile animals.
NOTE: AHHHHHHHHH Explains a lot!
Over time, Eastre became Easter, and the symbolism changed as well. Instead of the Easter rabbit symbolizing fertility, the rabbit may symbolize an innocent, vulnerable creature that can be sacrificed, similar to the lamb. To Christians, these innocents are tokens of Christ and the sacrifice he made.
The Easter bunny we know today was influenced by German traditions dating back to the 1500s. German children believed that the Oschter Haws (a magical rabbit) would leave them a nest of colored eggs at Eastertime if they were good. Pennsylvania Dutch settlers brought this tradition to America in the 1700s.
On a related note, eggs have long been a symbol of rebirth and thus associated with spring celebrations. In the 600s, Pope Gregory the Great forbade the eating of eggs during Lent (the 40 days proceeding Easter), and this helped make eggs a special treat at Easter. Many European cultures also have old customs of decorating eggs and giving them as gifts.
Well Pagan/ Christian Holiday or not – I used to love Easter.
There was the Easter of George the Crab. Easter Holidays meant a trip to the seaside to Auntie Pat and Uncle Frank. They lived in Margate on the coast. Some Easters we froze as winds whipped the town and we huddled in front of a coal fire enjoying hot cross buns but if Easter was late and you were really lucky weather would be warm . Although the sea was still much too cold even for paddling, rock pools left by the out going tide held all sorts of wonders.
It was on such a delightful Easter Saturday I acquired George- a rock pool crab- I refused to leave him and smuggled him in my little sand bucket aboard the bus to take him home. I was found out by a disgruntled Bus Conductor who made my embarrassed mother and Auntie Pat leave the bus and I had to put poor old George ( who I admit was looking a bit green and smelling quite a bit ( no doubt tipping off the Bus Conductor) back into the nearest rock pool.
Easter Eggs- were such fun, and NO I am not talking about those waxy chocolate ones stuffed with syrupy sugary yukky cream I have experienced here in the USA – ( I am sorry I dislike American Chocolate, it always tastes like eating candle wax) but beautiful sugary concoctions and real chocolate <sans wax) that when you break them open more chocolates appear.
Even the “don’t eat the sugar eggs”
were appreciated because they always contained sugared almonds which were allowed.
It takes some doing but I have managed “English Easter Eggs” through the years for my children and Gavin too has always had his English Eggs and so too will Braedyn ( when he gets teeth). I hope you enjoy your traditions this holiday – maybe we will have crab for lunch hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
In the meantime Happy Easter /Eastre to all……….