So happy to welcome back Cherie Le Clare to my website, fabulous author, wonderful lady and best of all, it's Cherie's birthday today!
Why do we celebrate Easter?
It’s my birthday today, which set me thinking about annual traditions.
Easter has been and gone for another year, but unless you had a Christian upbringing, or attend a Christian church, you may well be wondering why we celebrate Easter. Maybe it’s merely a good excuse to munch on chocolate eggs and hot cross buns, and have a long weekend(in New Zealand, where I live, we have two public holidays – Good Friday and Easter Monday).
Easter actually began as a pagan tradition, with the celebration of Eastre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of early Spring. The hare and the egg were Goddess Eastre’s symbols of fertility and new life, as in the hare’s ability to breed, and as in the chick bursting from the shell as representation of new life.
This pagan festival of Spring was transferred, when pagans converted to Christianity, to the observance of Jesus’ death (Good Friday) and celebration of his resurrection (Easter Sunday).
By the 19th century, the White Easter Hare had transformed into the Easter Rabbit, and then became the Easter Bunny, which we know it as today.
Did you know that Germany, back in the 1800s, was the first country to make an edible Easter Bunny? These treats were made out of pastry and sugar. It’s amazing how a good idea spreads throughout the world, isn’t it?
My mother’s tradition every Easter was to toast Hot Cross Buns for us as a special Good Friday breakfast – mmmm, dripping with melted butter – yum! And then we’d have to wait till Sunday morning for the Chocolate Easter Eggs – which we’d quickly gobble up before heading out to Sunday School and church. My favourites have always been the chocolate marshmallow eggs (unique to New Zealand?)Hollow chocolate bunnies and eggs are yummy, too.
But, to return to my opening paragraph, what significance is the Easter holiday in an increasingly secular society? It doesn’t even make sense as a pagan tradition of the passing of Winter, on this side of the world – New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands – because, at this time of the year, we are in Autumn, not Spring!
Importing other cultural festivities doesn’t seem logical sometimes – the American tradition of Halloween is a perfect example on this side of the globe. October, for us, means Springtime, not Autumn/Fall and the arrival of Winter. But, of course, the kids get excited about Trick and Treating even if it is virtually meaningless to them.
I’ll leave you with a tale to ponder – a supreme example of someone blindly following tradition without stopping to question why. “Ann’s mother always slices a corner off the pot roast before cooking it. Why do you do that? Ann asks. Because that’s what your grandmother does. But why? Ann asks. I don’t know, replies her mother. We’ll ask Granny. And Granny says, Because my pot is too small to fit the whole roast in, so I chop a corner off the meat to make it fit.”
And the moral of the story is? I’ll leave that for you to work out…
Copyright. Cherie Le Clare. 2011
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Interesting post, Cherie... and even though I have told you this privately, I am insanely jealous over your cover, it is GORGEOUS!!
Anyway, back to your post. For me the moral of the story is, think for yourself and not to blindly follow other 'just because'. I can guarantee all the great visionaries and successes of the world, past and present, took action on their own thoughts and beliefs rather than others. What do you think?
Looking forward to reading your thoughts!