Easter is one of those holidays that is more about religion than fanfare and for this reason it’s one that lots of people don’t know too much about. For instance, why is there an Easter bunny and why on earth does it bring candy and eggs in a basket? So without further ado, we bring you some tidbits (sourced of course from many dutiful Google searches). For a comprehensive look at the holiday, check out the facts at History.com.
From the Good Book
For Christians, Easter is the celebration of the day Jesus rose to heaven after having been crucified on the cross. While many religious folks only celebrate on this day, the devout practice good faith through the Easter season or “Lent,” which is the observance of the 40 days and 40 nights Jesus spent in the wilderness without food or water. The Lenten season ended on Holy Thursday, April 5. As many of faith will tell you, the Easter season is about sacrifice, repentance and soul-searching. Whether you observe the holiday or not, I’d say a little soul-searching never hurt anyone. You can learn more about the religious aspects of the holiday here.
Fasting and Fast Food
During Lent, many strict Catholics will give up eating meat of Fridays however, according to Americancatholic.org (and old-timers ‘round the world), meat is not to be consumed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday as well. According to the website, “In 1966 Pope Paul VI reorganized the Church's practice of public penance in his "Apostolic Constitution on Penance" (Poenitemini). The 1983 revision of the Code of Canon Law incorporated the changes made by Pope Paul. Not long after that, the U.S. bishops applied the canonical requirements to the practice of public penance in our country.
To sum up those requirements, Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. In addition, all Catholics 14 years old and older must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all the Fridays of Lent.”
If you want to talk with other Catholics about this at-times-controversial topic, join this forum.
While all this not-eating meat talk is riveting, did you know that it’s also the reason McDonald’s lover’s round the world have the Filet-O-Fish?
As highlighted by USA Today, the history of the Filet-O-Fish is just as much a Catholic observance as it is a money-making tale. In the early 1960s, Cincinnati-based MacDonald’s franchise owner, Lou Groen was failing as a business owner; the high amount of Catholics in his area would not eat meat because of the Lent season and he had to think fast.
McDonald’s founder Roy Croc wanted Groen to serve a “Hula” burger – a meatless, pineapple sandwich between buns – and the business owner was set on serving a fish sandwich. By now you can guess which sandwich was a success… 300 million served a year and counting….
Like most of the facts about Easter, there are no facts; According to History.com, Easter eggs may be linked to Pagan traditions and can represent everything from Jesus’ resurrection to the end of fasting.
So why do we hide Easter eggs? History.com says, “Easter egg hunts and egg rolling are two popular egg-related traditions. In the U.S., the White House Easter Egg Roll, a race in which children push decorated, hard-boiled eggs across the White House lawn, is an annual event held the Monday after Easter. The first official White House egg roll occurred in 1878, when Rutherford B. Hayes was president. The event has no religious significance, although some people have considered egg rolling symbolic of the stone blocking Jesus' tomb being rolled away, leading to his resurrection.”
Whether you like them hard-boiled, candy-coated, or Cadbury-great, Easter eggs are welcomed to celebrate the season!
Of all Easter Candy, Peeps are by far the best; not for taste but for the fact alone that you can microwave them and watch them grow. Too old to ruin the microwave but want-in on the Peep fun? Head over to “Peep World” and build your own. See the "Patchy Peep Chic" we designed in the photo gallery.
Much like Easter eggs, the Easter bunny most likely has nothing to do with the religious observance of the holiday. According to an article from Discovery News, the symbol of the Easter bunny, like Easter eggs, hails from Pagan traditions. The bunny, a fertile animal, represents the re-birth of life with the coming of the spring season and blooming plants. The Germans were some of the first people to write about the Easter bunny. Why the Easter bunny lays eggs, we may never know. Just because we don't know where the Easter bunny comes from, we can be sure to see him around town a lot this week so say hi to this mythical creature.
This story was original published on Branford Patch on April 21, 2011.