Tag Archives: Easter

How Did Easter Get Its Name?

It is believed that Easter actually gets its name from an Old English word, Ēastre, that was given to the month of April in honor of a pagan goddess,  Ēastermōnaþ.

This goddess is believed to have been the deity associated with spring and fertility and some Easter symbols that we would recognize today – eggs and rabbits, or hares – were used during this celebration.

In addition, feasts were held in her honor, but by the 8th century, these had given way to the Christian festival of Easter, which celebrates the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Most of the information on this theory of how Easter got its name comes from Bede, a monk in what is today England.

Jacob Grimm, one of the two brothers famous for their collection of old stories and myths, supported Bede’s claims on the origin of the name Easter although scholars dispute this theory.

However – and wherever – Easter got its name, it is celebrated by more than one in three people in the world.

 

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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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Is the Easter Bunny French?

The origins of the Easter Bunny – that long-eared rabbit who generously leaves candy in the baskets of good boys and girls and hides brilliantly colored eggs for them to find – can be traced to Alsace, a region that is now located in France but which was for many years part of Germany.

The first written mention of the Easter Bunny came in a book by Germany’s Georg Franck von Frankenau called De Ovis Paschalibus (About Easter Eggs).

The Easter Bunny came to America in the 1700s when German immigrants came to Pennsylvania and brought with them the legend of the Osterhase, an egg-laying hare. Children made nests for the rabbit to lay colored eggs.

Eventually, the Osterhase, or Easter Bunny, began to deliver chocolate, jelly beans, and other candy and gifts.

To thank the Easter Bunny, children left out carrots to help him keep his energy up!

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Can You Feed a Kid Caviar?

Well, the truth is you can; but ask yourself: should you?

If you’re an inquiring eater (like myself), there are a few mythical (or near-mythical) foods that just sound interesting but somehow out of reach. For a long time I thought caviar was one of those foods that you only saw at fancy parties on television.

It turns out you can find it next to the tuna fish at your local grocery store!

But what does the average person who doesn’t eat like Thurston Howell do with it?

The answer is as easy as Easter/Passover leftovers!

Traditionally, caviar can be eaten with both deviled eggs and latkes. Having recently made both of these foods, I decided to do a food experiment.

First, I tried the caviar on a white potato and onion latke with a dollop of sour cream.

This was good.

Then I tried the caviar on a deviled egg. The egg yolks had been smashed with mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, and salt.

This was also good.

However, it quickly became apparent that I lacked the “hunger” to continue to compare the two. After the second round, I was slightly over my fascination with caviar and regretting that I hadn’t invited over an eating crew! So you’ll have to try both ideas and tell me what you think.

For the record, I couldn’t get my kid to eat caviar. And I’m OK with that.

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Put On Your Easter Bonnet

I read a great piece by Robin Givhan in the Washington Post about the dying tradition of Easter fashion, “Easter fashion has a rich history but its glory is eroding”.

It reminded me of Easters when I was a child. After my three siblings and I woke my parents up at the crack of dawn to hunt eggs and eat chocolate, we were helped into our Easter outfits and went to church.

I still can remember some of those dresses – the one my grandmother sewed for me, in particular (see above photo – author is second from left).

I even wore a little while hat and finished off the look with white tights and patent leather shoes.

Never mind that my brothers and sisters and I had been tearing the house apart just hours before; by the time we arrived at church we looked like perfect angels.

Unfortunately, it’s not a tradition I’ve carried on with my son; at least, not in the last couple of years.

With everything else on my mind, a new outfit for either of us – or even a “freshened up” outfit for either of us, just seems beyond my logistical abilities.

As much as I would love to present that put-together, polished, and reverent face to the world, I’m lucky if I make it to church on time (most of the time).

It’s a good goal for me to set for next Easter’s service. Until then I’ll just try to remember to leave the flip-flops at home!

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Without a Peep

Peeps are one of those foods I would rather see – and use to decorate – than actually eat. They’re just colored, molded marshmallows, but there’s something so festive about them.

And until I read this article about them in Salon.com, I had no idea that they were not available year-round. Although they make a Halloween version, most of their sales take place during the Easter season.

Made in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the peeps are produced by the Just Born company, which was founded in 1921 by Russian immigrant Sam Born. Peeps were introduced in 1953 and have become a staple of Easter baskets ever since.

Here are some other fascinating facts about peeps:

  • The albino peep is the rarest, but also one of the most popular peeps.
  • The company can produce 2 million peeps per day.
  • Annual peep consumption is 600 million per year.
  • Peeps were recently introduced to Canada – they’ve just begun their march to world domination.
  • Peeps are the most popular non-chocolate Easter candy.
  • Peeps have inspired a crazy following, not all of it rated “G”.

Even the Washington Post has gotten in on the mania. For the past few years they have sponsored a contest encouraging people to get creative and photograph tableaux involving peeps. You’ve got to see it to believe it.

I’ve already bought mine, but here are some sneak peaks at peeps to tide you over until you get yours.

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