March Editorial - By Carla Selby
March is one of my favorite Months of the year for many reasons! One being that we get to celebrate St. Patrick’s day on March 17, and immediately after, us Christians / Catholics, get to observe Easter. While the dates for Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Halloween are fixed, Easter can fall any time between March 22 and April 25.
When is Easter 2018 and how is the date decided?
This year’s Easter takes place from Good Friday on March 30 until Easter Monday on April 2 - making Easter Sunday on April 1, which is also… April Fool’s Day! Funny coincidence isn’t it? I can just imagine the jokes and pranks this year.
So how is the Easter date decided?
The death of Jesus occurred around the Jewish Passover, which is traditionally held on first full moon following the vernal equinox. As the full moon varies in each time zone, the Church said that they would use the 14th day of the lunar month instead - The Paschal Full Moon - and decided to host Easter Day on the following Sunday. So once that date is fully determined, then Easter Day and the Easter Holidays can be determined.
Us Christians celebrate Easter on a Sunday as it was the day Jesus Christ, our savior, rose from the dead, following his crucifixion on a Friday, two days before.
Many, many centuries ago in 325, it was determined by a council of Christian Bishops that Easter Day should always be on a Sunday to commemorate the happy occasion.
So what is the meaning behind it and why do we celebrate with chocolate easter eggs and bunnies? Seems a little odd doesn’t it? Let me elaborate a little.
During this time of the year we see many stores being decorated with Easter eggs, chocolate bunnies and baby chicks. But Why? While many will be at least vaguely familiar with the story of Easter, its relation to eating mountains of chocolate eggs is less clear.
Like I mentioned earlier, Easter celebrates the resurrection of our Lord. Even before the birth of Christianity, the egg was seen as a symbol of Spring, a celebration of rebirth and reinvigoration after the harshness of winter. That’s why the Mesopotamians - an ancient Christian community living in an area roughly covered today by Iraq, Syria and Kuwait - used to stain eggs red to symbolize the blood of Christ. Eggs would then be cracked against one another, leaving just the empty shells - a symbol of the empty tomb Jesus left behind. Interesting huh?
The tradition survives today in the shape of egg rolling, representing the rolling away of the rock from Jesus’ tomb.
Over time, Easter eggs became more and more elaborately decorated, perhaps most famously by Russian jeweler Peter Carl Faberge, creator of the priceless Faberge eggs as Easter gifts for Tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II.
The introduction of chocolate eggs is a relatively new phenomenon, which originated in France and Germany in the 19th century. And as everyone loves chocolate, the chocolate production of Easter eggs exploded and became more popular all over the world, making Easter another “marketable” Holiday.
Nowadays Easter is a big deal commercially - retailers and manufacturers love to get in on the Holiday and persuade us to buy easter baskets, easter eggs, cards, and anything depicting bunnies.
So we now understand the eggs, but why Bunnies?
We can thank the Germans for the Easter Bunny! Originally an ‘Easter hare,’ a buck-toothed bringer of chocolate to the kids that behaved well was first mentioned in German literature in 1682. The tradition stuck, and left to the Easter bunnies you see on the shelves today as well as the exception for a delivery of Easter eggs on the day.
I hope this little Easter editorial helped shed some light on the chocolate eggs and Easter Bunny mystery.
I personally love creating easter baskets with all kinds of goodies and giving them away to my little nephews, nieces and cousins. I also enjoy painting and decorating Easter eggs. This is an awesome activity to do with the little ones and something adults can also have fun doing. By the way, painting eggs with food coloring can be fun, but this year, you may want to try something new. I suggest using watercolors, as your little Easter eggs will definitely look like true works of art. (Some watercolors and dyes may contain lead, so please do not eat them, just enjoy their beauty and then discard them.)
Whether you are Christian or not, celebrating Easter is a wonderful family tradition. I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful one!