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.