Friday, March 29, 2013

Strange Easter Traditions: FRIDAY FIVE

As I walked the holiday aisle at the store in preparation for Easter, I started to wonder about some of the traditions we've adopted to celebrate this religious holiday. Much like almost any holiday, commercialism and secularism have intertwined themselves in the American society and created Easter traditions that, when you really stop to think about them, are quit strange. I decided to embark on a Google journey to try to find out what these strange traditions were all about. Here's a summary of what I found:

1. Easter  Eggs  - The custom of giving eggs at Easter is a celebration of new life. Jesus, after dying on the cross, rose from the dead. This miracle showed that life could win over death. For Christians the egg is a symbol of Jesus' resurrection (when they are cracked open they stand for the empty tomb). Eggs were always thought to be special because although they do not seem alive, they have life within them especially at springtime when chicks hatch out. Eggs were colored by dying them with the new buds of spring flowers and grass, thus the dominance of pastel colors.

2. Candy - Long ago people gave gifts of eggs carved from wood or precious stones. The first sweet eggs that were eaten were made in the last 100 years from sugar or marzipan. Thank goodness we've moved past marzipan, because there is nothing better than a Reese's PEANUT BUTTER Egg except maybe some PEEPS!

3. Easter Bunny - What on Earth does an egg toting bunny have to do with Easter? Well, its a big stretch, but here goes: In the medieval church, the hare was a common symbol used to represent the Virgin Mary. Hares, ancient Christians believed, could reproduce without losing their virginity - thus the connection with the Virgin Mary. How a bunny started hopping around delivering baskets and goodies is still a mystery, but his origins in the U.S. are linked to German traditions brought by 18th century immigrants whose Osterhase (Easter Hare) delivered gifts and colorful eggs to grass lined hats and bonnets of good children on Easter morning, much like the tradition of St. Nick on Christmas (also a representation of Christ.)  

4. Easter Outfits - This one was the most obvious tradition to me, as traditionally many Christians attend church on two specific occasions: Christmas and Easter. These two church services are considered the pinnacle of many Christians, and as such, they choose to dress-up a little fancier for the occasion. Likewise, spring being a re-birth of the seasons, Easter attire often reflects the emerging warmth and the sunnier days.  

5. Easter Food - When I think about Easter I often think of eggs, ham, and potato salad. Eggs, as explained above, make sense. Not being a ham fan, I've often wondered why they grace the table of just about every home on Easter Sunday. Historically, lamb and ham were used at almost every European feast. Lamb, presumably as a symbol of the Lamb of God (the Savior). Ham, apparently was believed to bring good luck. In early America, pork was plentiful, thus it often replaced the more traditional Eastern lamb (thank goodness, because for as I dislike ham, I dislike lamb even more!).  No word on why we eat potato salad, though... maybe its to use some of those extra boiled eggs, but in our family I think its just because my grandpa mastered his "sloppy sauce" recipe and makes the perfect potato salad.

Whatever your traditions are, I wish a very Happy Easter to all of you, my friends.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...