Both sides of the story
I want to begin this discussion about Easter to be sure you realize … It’s not about the Bunny it’s about the Lamb. Today we’re going to talk about both of them.
Easter is second only to Halloween in candy consumption. In the week leading up to Easter, nearly 71 million pounds of chocolate candy will be purchased. Almost 90 percent of children in the United States will receive an Easter basket and 90 million chocolate Easter bunnies and 16 billion jelly beans will be sold this year.
The Easter Bunny is one of the most beloved symbols of Easter. Over several centuries, the rabbit has always represented fertility and thus, spring. In fact, the rabbit is often associated with the goddess, Ēostre and it is from her name that the word “Easter” is thought to have evolved.
It was, however, in Germany that the Easter Bunny was conceived. Joseph Grimm, of the famous Brothers Grimm who collected and recorded such fairy tales as Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel, wrote in 1835 of the myth of the Easter Bunny. Germany was also the birthplace of those delectable edible Easter Bunnies we all love today. When Germans immigrated to Pennsylvania, they brought with them not only the edible bunnies but also the tale of Osterhase, a rabbit who would lay brightly colored eggs in “nests,” created for children with their bonnets and caps, hidden in the home … but only if the children had behaved themselves.
Now this tale: “A man was driving along the highway when he saw the Easter rabbit hopping across the middle of the road. He swerved to avoid hitting the rabbit, but unfortunately the Easter rabbit jumped in front of the car and was struck. The basket of eggs and candy the rabbit was carrying went flying all over the place.
The driver, being a sensitive man as well as an animal lover, pulled over to the side of the road and got out to see what had become of the rabbit carrying the basket. Much to his dismay, the colorful rabbit was dead. The driver felt so awful, he began to cry.
A woman driving down the highway saw the man crying and pulled over. She stepped out of her car and asked the man what was wrong. ‘I feel terrible,’ he explained. ‘I accidentally hit the Easter rabbit and killed it. Children will be so disappointed. What should I do?’
She went to her car trunk, and pulled out a spray can. She walked over to the dead, limp rabbit, and sprayed the contents of the can onto the furry animal. Miraculously the Easter rabbit came to life, jumped up, picked up the spilled eggs and candy, waved its paw at the two humans and hopped down the road.
About 50 yards away, the Easter rabbit stopped, turned around, waved and hopped down the road. Again 50 yards further on, he turned again, waved and hopped another 50 yards, and again he waved.
The man ran over to the woman and asked, ‘What did you spray on the Easter rabbit?’ The woman turned the can around so that the man could read the label. It said: ‘Hair spray … restores life to dead hair and adds permanent wave.”
Now back to the real reason we are here! Easter has sometimes been called the moveable feast because the celebration of Easter occurs on a different date each year. Easter, Christianity’s most important holiday, celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Earth’s saddest day and gladdest day were just three days apart!
Easter falls on the first Sunday following the full moon after the spring equinox which is on March 21 – anywhere between March 22 and April 25.
May your Easter basket be full of joy, happiness and peace. Happy Easter!
(Melanie Behrens – firstname.lastname@example.org)
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