gillybirds

What came first- the chickens or the blog?

Unwrapping the Chocolate Egg

on March 31, 2013

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It never fails to make me smile that as shops are taking down the tinsel and packing away unsold crackers the day after Christmas, they are unpacking chocolate Easter Eggs. Apart from the store’s commercial reasons why are we in such a hurry to get that baby to the Cross? And what is the link with chocolate eggs?
For the Christian Easter is a celebration of Christ’s rising, but this holiday has pagan origins. The coloured eggs, cute little bunnies, baby chicks, leg of lamb dinners, and lilies are all symbols of rebirth and the lamb was a traditional religious sacrifice.
Easter falls in the spring, the yearly time of renewal, when the earth renews itself after a long, cold winter. The word Easter comes to us from the Norsemen’s Eostur, Eastar, Ostara, and Ostar, and the pagan goddess Eostre, all of which involve the season of the growing sun and new birth. The Easter Bunny arose originally as a symbol of fertility, due to the rapid reproduction habits of the hare and rabbit.
The ancient Egyptians, Persians, Phoenicians, and Hindus all believed the world began with an enormous egg, thus the egg as a symbol of new life has been around for a long time. A notation in the household accounts of King Edward I showed an expenditure of eighteen pence for 450 eggs to be gold-leafed and coloured for Easter gifts. The first book to mention Easter eggs by name was written five hundred years ago. Yet, a North African tribe that had become Christian much earlier in time had a custom of colouring eggs at Easter. Long hard winters often meant little food, and a fresh egg for Easter was quite a prize. Later, Christians abstained from eating meat during the Lenten season prior to Easter. Easter was the first chance to enjoy eggs and meat after the long abstinence.
Our oldest Gillyboy has been faithfully keeping off sweet things for Lent so he is eagerly awaiting unwrapping his chocolate eggs today.
After a week of deepest snow and freezing temperatures, we all long for winter to end and Spring to arrive with longer days and warm sunshine. Today, on Resurrection Sunday, I am celebrating the unwrapping of the grave clothes, the cracking open of the tomb and the victory of Christ over death.
He is risen!

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