For years, I have understood “Easter” to come from an ancient pagan goddess worshipped by Anglo Saxons namedEostre. An unrelated fact: eggs were a symbol of fertility in part because they used to be so scarce during winter. There are records of people giving each other decorated eggs at Easter as far back as the 11th century.
Today, however, I learned that only one historical writing references such a goddess. Furthermore, I learned that there is quite an ongoing controversy about Eostre that includes her various names, her role as goddess of dawn, fertility and rebirth and her role in celebrations of spring. And this:
In “The American Book of Days,” George William Douglas writes: ‘As the festival of Eostre was a celebration of the renewal of life in the spring it was easy to make it a celebration of the resurrection from the dead of Jesus. There is no doubt that the Church (of Rome) in its early days adopted the old pagan customs and gave a “Christian” meaning to them.’
After some hours of reading tale after refutation, I concluded that interpretations and celebrations of Easter are a random collection of Christian, pagan, culture, and circumstance. Mine, too. A mix of early childhood traditions (I still send my grown children a dark chocolate bunny and small gift). Of the necessity for fresh asparagus sometime during the day. Of personal predilection toward clearing the garden in eager anticipation of that spring-to-summer rush only those of us living in extreme northern climes truly appreciate. And my annual quest for The Perfect Hot Cross Bun.
Just imagine my delight this morning when my husband lovingly placed on our table a single brown egg he had hard-boiled yesterday. For me. As a simple spring token honoring my beliefs, while initiating a more intentional blend of our traditions going forward. Add to that my great luck in finding the best Hot Cross Bun recipe ever – and gluten free, at that! Within her first paragraph, Nicole writes “Warm, sweet and fragrant, your gluten-free hot cross buns should taste just as good as you remember. If they don’t, something’s not right. “Good for gluten-free” isn’t.good.enough.” You know you’ve struck gold with a source like that. The. Best. Ever.
So slip into something comfortable. Grill up your asparagus with extra virgin olive oil and lots of garlic. Warm up just one more exquisitely perfect HCB from the morning’s batch. And top it all off with one last dark chocolate bite of bunny. I hope your Easter has been as happy as mine.
Very nice Sarah! I love Easter, always have. For me it was new spring dress and shoes; dying easter eggs, jellybeans, ham for dinner and the egg hunt! Got to do the ham and jellybeans this year–my chicks have flown the coop! (and (much to my chagrin) they don’t like chocolate bunnies…) Happy that you had such a delightful Easter 🙂
Sara – don’t you just love the different ways families celebrate holidays! One of my favorite stories is when my son and his now bride-to-be were first getting to know one another and had established their mutual love of Thanksgiving dinner, one asked the other, “SO, what does your family cook?” The answer, “Oh, the usual . . . ” quickly landed them in piles of surprised laughter for all the very NOT usual-to-the-other dishes. Love it!!!
Funny, my husband and I were just talking about the Pagan origins with my kids the other day. I did not know about Eostre though. I will have to add that in (late) to the conversation. And another coincidence, I was just looking at a recipe for Hot Cross Buns the other day thinking that I would like to make some. Gluten free sounds even better! Off to check the recipe. Thanks for sharing!
Linda, I was devastated to learn that ONLY ONE scholar actually referenced Eostre – so I didn’t bother with the tale that accompanied her (it does however explain the connection between rabbits and eggs, a useful point if you are so inclined). Hope you enjoy the Hot X buns. I found them actually better than most ‘normal’ ones; she really nailed the spices. Thanks for stopping by – I’ve missed the more regular contact.
Those hot cross buns look delicious!
And so they continue to be . . . better than the originals IMHO. Which I can say, since it was not my recipe 🙂
That is sweetly romantic.
That would be us, Rebecca! Thanks for stopping by.