With Easter arriving on a Sunday this year, I found myself a wee bit distracted from the documenting Smirkful observations and spent the day with family. Besides laughs and conversation, it also included consuming chocolate, food, chocolate, sugar dipped marshmallow baby chickens, and hard boiled eggs… and chocolate. There are some holidays that carry with them certain smells that when you come across them reek that the holiday has arrived. The smell of evergreens filling the house will always announce to my nose that Christmas is here. Just like the smell of the mingling aroma of baking pumpkin pie and cooked turkey slaps my taste buds into a confusing state of mouth watering appreciation which can only be defined as Happy Thanksgiving. (I say confusing because I hate pumpkin pie, but do enjoy a real turkey out of the oven.)
Then there is Easter, which unfortunately carries with it the ominous odor of chocolate covered egg burps. I’m not saying this is how I want to remember the holiday. It’s just that over the year’s one of the most common reoccurring fragrances that Easter has always offered it the pungent smell of hard boiled eggs with just a hint of chocolate from all those damn Whopper Robin Eggs.
With Easter now over with, and with the bargain shoppers now rushing to all of the grocery stores to buy carts full of 50% off Easter candy and holiday décor that will be used next year, what better time than now to learn a little something about this holiday. Apart from the unfortunate smells associated with it.
If you know anything about this holiday it’s that you can’t have Easter without the Pagans. Granted there are a number of holidays we wouldn’t have without the Pagans. That being said… thanks Pagans. What few people know is that the name Easter comes from mistakes that were made in the east, as in east errs. Ok, I made that up. According to a fair amount of random internet sources that I perused for the sole purpose of shared enlightenment the word Easter comes from the name Eostre, who as the Great Mother Goddess of the Saxon people in Northern Europe. Apparently the name of the goddess originates from the ancient word for spring (or eastre), and a festival was held in her honor every year at the vernal equinox.
Regardless of your beliefs, Easter is a salute to spring. For the Earth, spring is a very literal type of resurrection, renewal, rebirth, regurgitation… of sleeping vegetation, and other “re” words that would require much longer explanations as to how they relate to Easter, but that I really don’t want to get into. For Christians and Pagans alike it represents either the symbolic or literal resurrection of a god. Of course, this is dependent on either what kind of Christian or Pagan you are.
In Gerald L. Berry’s book “Religions of the World,” he wrote:
“About 200 B.C. mystery cults began to appear in Rome just as they had earlier in Greece. Most notable was the Cybele cult centered on Vatican hill …Associated with the Cybele cult was that of her lover, Attis (the older Tammuz, Osiris, Dionysus, or Orpheus under a new name). He was a god of ever-reviving vegetation. Born of a virgin, he died and was reborn annually. The festival began as a day of blood on Black Friday and culminated after three days in a day of rejoicing over the resurrection.”
That’s not all though. I know for me Easter has and will always mean one thing that thing is bunnies! And from here on out, it’s only predominantly going to mean Flemish bunnies. They are both adorable and huge. I have only recently been introduced to these massive creatures of fluffy adorability, and quite honestly, I have been waiting for Easter to arrive so I could share their existence with others… mainly because of the flawless segue I would be able to make from Easter Bunny to Flemish rabbits. Oh damn, I forgot to talk about the Easter Bunny.
Well, according to the myth, the Easter Bunny is a rabbit-spirit. Before being referred to as the Easter Bunny, he was called the “Easter Hare.” The reason being that rabbits and hares are renowned for having frequent multiple births. Because of this they became a symbol of fertility. The practice of the Easter egg hunt began because children believed that hares laid eggs in the grass. In looking more into this I found that the Romans believed that all life comes from an egg, forever answering the age old question of which came first the chicken or the egg. I also read that Christians considered eggs to be the seed of life, thus making the eggs symbolic of the resurrection of Jesus. Also, on a side note, I’d like to point out that once you devil eggs, they do become rather tempting.
Right, so Flemish rabbits, or as they are commonly referred to the “Flemish Giant” breed of rabbit, are the super sized options of the bunny kingdom. Some of these Bugs-like offspring have been reported weighing as much as 28 pounds (13 kilos). That’s like a Thanksgiving sized rabbit, and you probably wouldn’t even need any stuffing. Although you’d still have some because it’s stuffing, and stuffing is the delicious love child of a pride of garden herbs and a gaggle of croutons that have been spending too much time in a sauna. And no, I’m not recommending, suggesting, or in any way inferring that we should consume these large furry bouncing ground clouds of happiness. I was just making a very poorly thought out size juxtaposition, which I am not proud of. A better comparison would be canine. I mean they might not weigh as much as a golden retriever, but they could look it. Besides, everyone knows that visually speaking the fluffiness adds at least ten pounds.
My gripe with the present day celebration of Easter is psychological trauma that children suffer from in regards to how the holiday is usually celebrated. I am, of course, referring to all the children who are graced with a large collection of sugar infused goodies. After consuming as much of the candy as possible they are taken to some type of ceremonial activity and expected to be well behaved and quite while some religious themed message is shared to a group of attendees.
Getting your kids all jacked up on sugar and then punishing them because they were fidgeting, or screaming and running up and down the aisles as fast as they can is poor parenting, period. How is it possible that anyone be surprised that their children are behaving badly after you have just enabled and encouraged them to overload on sugar is like getting a Brazilian hot wax treatment and then acting all surprised that it hurts. It baffles me… on both accounts, the feeding candy to kids then yelling at them for being hyper bit, as well as the hot wax bit.
Regardless of your feelings about Easter and its symbolism and origins I think there is one thing we can all agree on… the urge all of you have, myself included, to pet one of those Flemish Giant rabbits. When I think of Flemish Giant rabbits I can’t help but think of Hugo the Abominable Snowman, who summed things up perfectly when he said, “Just what I always wanted. My own little bunny rabbit! I will name him George, and I will hug him, and pet him, and squeeze him.”
Any Easter, or more importantly, Flemish Giant thoughts?
Google Images, key words: Flemish Giant, Flemish Giant with dog, Easter, Eostre, and kids eating Easter candy.