Tag Archives: Christian

Why Is There an Easter Bunny?

My five year old nephew asked the other day, “Why is there an Easter bunny that brings eggs if only birds can lay eggs?”

It’s a great question – and one countless other children have asked.

Here are five reasons why the Easter Bunny – and not the Easter Birdie – brings those eggs around on Easter Sunday morning.

  1. Rabbits are a traditional symbol of spring because they are known for their fertility.
  2. Rabbits – and their ability to have so many offspring – encourage hope in a better, brighter future that is abundantly fruitful.
  3. An egg-laying rabbit speaks to people’s desire for something mystical and magical in their spring celebrations. It’s a little like magic when flowers break through the frozen ground and free people from the long, hard winter.
  4. Rabbits symbolize innocence and wonder, childlike qualities that correspond with the rebirth and rejuvenation people feel when spring returns.
  5. Like the lamb, rabbits are associated with religious sacrifice; Easter is a time when Christians celebrate the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus.

I’m not sure if any of these reasons will satisfy my inquisitive nephew, but it may satisfy the curiosity of some adults who have often pondered the same question.

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It’s Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday/Shrove Tuesday

Mardi Gras KidThere’s a lot going on today. In addition to Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday/Shrove Tuesday, today is also the 100th International Women’s Day, which I’ll be posting on later today.

But Mardi Gras deserves attention all on its own.

Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is the last day before the Christian season of Lent begins. In Lent, Christians make sacrifices, fast, pray, and try to prepare for Easter, the holiest time in their religious calendar.

So Mardi Gras is the last hurrah before the solemnity of the Lenten season. And some people really do make the most of it.

In Brazil, Carnivale has a world-famous reputation as an all-out extravaganza.

In the United States, New Orleans pretty much holds the title for most festive Mardi Gras destination.

The celebrations can get wild – but there are some family-friendly traditions that anyone can adopt.

King CakeOne of the most fun is King Cake. King Cake is not only eaten during Mardi Gras, but it is also a popular food during the Christmas holidays in places such as France, Belgium, Portugal, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Switzerland, and Spain.

Inside the cake is a tiny figure of a baby, meant to be the baby Jesus. Whoever finds the figure in his or her piece of cake earns the right to buy next year’s King Cake (I like this tradition!).

In addition to King Cake, parades are a common activity at Mardi Gras festivities. You can organize a mini-parade with your family either inside or outside (depending on how frigid it is where you live). Dress up in masks and pile on every piece of funny clothing, jewelry, or decoration you can find.

Mardi Gras beadsIf you’ve got beads, flaunt them! Mardi Gras beads are traditionally distributed during parades. These plastic beads, usually found in purple, green, and gold, are fun treasures for kids to collect. You can give out beads according to your own idea of a good time. Encourage your children to compliment each other or do nice things for other friends or family members in order to earn the beads. You can keep the fun going long after Mardi Gras.

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Cookies 4: Springerle

Springerle are a German rolled Christmas cookie. My great-grandmother made these cookies and my grandmother remembered them fondly.

Springerle means “little jumper” or “little knight” and it borrows its technique from that used to emboss designs on Christian bread. The different designs on springerle have evolved a little over the years.

Although they’re not labor-intensive, you do need a special rolling pin in order to make these cookies authentic.

My family no longer has my great-grandmother’s recipe, so I’m relying on this springerle recipe which was submitted to AllRecipes.com by Rosemarie Magee.

Springerle

Ingredients

 

4 eggs

2 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups white sugar

4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup anise seed

Directions

 

Beat eggs in large mixing bowl until very light.

Add sugar and butter. Cream together until light and fluffy.

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients and combine.

Knead dough until smooth … add more flour to get a smooth dough if necessary.

Cover dough and allow to chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Roll onto slightly floured board to 1/2 inch thickness. Then roll again with springerle roller to make designs. Cut at border. Sprinkle anise seed on clean tea towel and place cookies on this. Allow to stand overnight (don’t cover) to dry.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes at 325 degrees F (170 degrees C).

Cool completely. Store in tight tin container … the longer they are stored, the more anise flavor they take up.

 

Springerle Roller

 

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