Posted in Christian, Family and Society, Food, Life, poetry, Stories Around the World

Of Easter,Tradition and Trends

“I still believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and true love. Don’t even try to tell me different.” Dolly Parton

With Easter Sunday being celebrated tomorrow, preparations are quietly underway which would make the day special tomorrow primarily keeping the children in mind. Easter Sunday is the day signifying the love of God for man, a time for hope, renewal and resurrection through His Son. With the season of Lent coming to a close and breaking the Lenten fast involves special significance, especially when one has abstained from something dear to them through this period. Sacrificing something that one is fond of is never easy, but a whole new meaning and character is acquired when we abstain from the “materialistic” pleasure that we being man, often crave every now and then. Which is why, every Easter Sunday meal is something that the entire family and friends look forward to. Besides being a time for togetherness, it also signifies the breaking of the Lenten Fast.

“The blessing of food for the Easter Sunday meal is especially popular among people of Eastern European descent, especially those from Poland. Families prepare baskets with the food they will eat on Easter morning – decorated eggs, sausage, ham, bacon, a loaf of bread with a cross cut into the crust, cheese, salt, horseradish, and butter carved in the shape of a lamb.” Ken Untener, The Little White Book for Easter

Around the world, various traditions are there on Easter. While initially they were modeled after the spring celebrations, later the trends were modified to give new relevance with the basis of the last supper or “Passover” or “Passove Sedar” in mind. Among the Easter Lunch, the fast is often broken by the “star of Easter”; painted, dyed, gilded in various hues, hidden or hung on trees, found on the treasure hunt, bough to church or given as gifts are the “Easter Eggs”. Most of the legends state them to be “symbol of life”.

“I agree. You don’t want it to look boring. It’s [the Easter egg] got to look good otherwise it’s just like every other chocolate. And size does matter when it comes to the egg, as that’s what Easter eggs are all about.” Liam Tomassi

Previously believed by the Egyptian and few Persian civilization of the early times, eggs were considered to be symbolic of after life. Few traditions believe that Mary Magdalene and the Virgin Mary held eggs during the crucifixion or that they were eaten at the first meal after the Resurrection. In the Eastern Orthodox churches, the hard shell of the egg represents the stone walls of Jesus’ tomb, with the egg itself representing the new life of the Resurrection. Eggs also were the easiest, most economical and available foods to eat while breaking the Lenten Fast. This popularity has lead in the presence of “the Easter Egg” predominate every Easter celebration.

“The Easter eggs symbolizes our ability to break out of the hardened, protective shell we’ve surrounded ourselves with that limits our thoughts and beliefs. As we break open our hearts and minds we discover a transformation to new, life enhancing thoughts and beliefs.” Siobhan Shaw

Another popular tradition was the Easter Basket, which was an “Easter Nest” originally. Arising from the concepts of fertility and springtime, Eastern basket was a German tradition which had gained mass popularity. Initially children would make “nests,” filled with grass, in hopes that Peter Cottontail would fill the nest with eggs. Later these nests evolved into baskets, which were bigger, less messier and easy to carry.

Amidst the Easter Eggs in the basket would be the “hollow chocolate bunnies”. While there is no historical or religious documentation on why the bunny represents Easter, the association would be more by the calendar. With Easter mostly during Spring, the month of April showered not only spring flowers but also signals the birth of baby rabbits. Thus spring time and bunnies symbolize birth and renewal. Coat the bunnies with chocolate and hollow them out to fill them with candies; voila the treat is irresistible for every kid in the block.

Other Easter traditions include eating ham or meat to the making of “Hot cross buns” and other breads marked with an X to symbolize the cross are a tradition on many Easter tables. From the “Choreg” of Armenia, Ukranian “Paska”, Polish “Babka” to Tsoureki of Greece, a wide varied variety of sweet breads are made around the world. With eggs being baked in most, these are conspicuously risen breads, quite different from the Passover tradition of unleavened bread.

As we get ready to break the Lenten Period and celebrate Easter, with all the food to be made ready, decorations to put up, church to be readied and tables to be set, the core message of renewal, togetherness and love shouldn’t be forgotten. One of the best ways to spread the message of love would be to share the delectable creations of Easter around.

The Easter Bunny came by today
and left surprises along his way.
Colorful eggs are all around.
With baskets in hand we search the ground.
Hiding in places here and there
Easter eggs are everywhere.
-Author Unknown

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