Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Trivia and Facts

  • According to widespread belief, Easter owes its name to "Eastre", the Anglo-Saxon goddess symbolizing hare and egg. Another theory suggests that it comes from the early German word "eostarun", meaning dawn and white.
  • Easter is a "moveable feast" as it does not fall on a fixed date in the Gregorian or Julian calendars. The full moon determines the date of Easter.
  • Easter always falls between March 22 and April 25.
  • Easter has been named after Eastre, an Anglo-Saxon goddess. The symbols of the goddess were the hare and the egg.
  • Apart from English and German, the name of 'Easter' has been derived from Pesach, the Hebrew name of Passover festival.
  • Right from ancient times, egg has been regarded as a symbol of rebirth in most of the cultures.
  • Easter is known by different names across the world. Some of them are: English - Easter, French - Paques, Spanish - Pascua, Italian - Pasqua, Albanian - Pashke, German - Ostern, Greek - Pascha, Norway - Paaske, Holland - Pasen and Swedish - Pask.
  • Egg, bonfires & candles, lily, cross, palm, bunny and lamb are the most popular symbols of Easter.
  • Egyptians were initially the ones who exchanged eggs to symbolize the resurrection of Christ. It was later that the tradition was passed down to early Christians.
  • For Americans, Easter is the second most important candy-eating occasion of the year, after Halloween.
  • In the mid-20th century, it used to take as much as 27 hours to make a marshmallow peep. Today, the time has been reduced to six minutes.
  • Hot cross buns, made by European monks, are counted amongst the earliest Easter treats. They were given to the poor people, during the month of Lent.
  • Ninety million chocolate Easter bunnies and 16 billion jelly beans are produced each year before the commencement of the Easter festivities. As a holiday, Easter comes only second to Halloween in terms of the annual sale confectionery items.
  • 76 percent of people eat the ears on chocolate bunnies first.

Easter in the United States
From the Holiday Spot

Today, with all its joyous customs, Easter is indeed a major popular festival across the United States.

A festival that has become more of secular in spirit, though it has religious background.

However, this was not the case all along the history of United States.

Easter did not enjoy the status of a popular festival among the early settlers in America. Because most of them were Puritans or members of Protestant Churches who had little use for the ceremonies of any religious festivals. Even the Puritans in Massachusetts tried their best to play down the celebration of Easter as far as possible. While various rites are said to be associated with the celebration of Easter, most of them have come as part of the ancient spring rites in the Northern hemisphere.

Not until the period of the Civil War did the message and meaning of Easter begin to be expressed as it had been in Europe. It was the initiative of the Presbyterians. The scars of death and destruction which led people back to the Easter season. They found the story of resurrection as a great source of inspiration and renewed hope.

Since then, of course, its joyous customs delight children and adults alike.

Why have rabbits and eggs become linked with Easter?
From The Independent

Eggs, of course, are ancient symbols of fertility, for very obvious reasons, while the Seder meal incorporates a hard boiled egg as a symbol of new life. The ancient Persians also painted eggs for Nowrooz, their New Year celebration falling on the spring equinox. An egg has also been seen to be associated with the rebirth or resurrection of Christ. The custom of eating them also derives from the fact that they were forbidden during Lent. There are a great many rituals associated with eggs, mainly dating from Medieval times in Europe, usually involving decorating, throwing, rolling or hiding eggs for children to find them.

The Easter bunny or rabbit comes from the hare, another ancient, pre-Christian symbol of fertility associated with spring. But it gets even more complicated than that. Anglo-Saxon mythology says Eostara changed her pet bird into a rabbit to entertain a group of children, and the rabbit laid brightly colored eggs for them.

The chocolate bunny, like the chocolate Easter egg, is a much more recent idea, stemming from 18th and 19th-century middle European confectionery traditions, many of which were adopted in Britain.

Hope you enjoyed this little bit of trivia!

In the Spirit of Camp,


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