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Get Ready For Easter

Get ready for Easter

Easter has always been associated with springtime. It symbolizes hope, renewal and fertility and many of its customs and symbols are closely related to food.



Customs Surrounding the Easter Holiday

Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday, is characterized by a 40 day fast that symbolizes sacrifice, and breaks at Easter. People prepared for Lent by using up all the leftover grease to fry foods. Eggs, which were often forbidden during Lent, were used to make pancakes (Pancake Tuesday). The third Thursday in Lent was a moment of respite before the beginning of the final Holy Week fast that began on the Thursday before Easter. People made enormous sacrifices during Holy Week, eating only dry bread and water. Easter was a day for rejoicing on which desserts, sweets and meats could once again be consumed. Although traditions surrounding Easter have changed over time, these symbolic foods continue to be popular:

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns, which can only be found before Easter, are marked with a cross on top. They were prepared on Holy Thursday or Holy Friday to be at their best on Easter Sunday. Some people believed that eating Hot Cross Buns would bring them health all year long.

Lent Is not for Chickens

The egg is without a doubt the most well known universal symbol of renewal and fertility. It promises birth. In the 4th century, the Church forbade the use of eggs during Lent. Eggs were thus dipped in sheep grease or melted wax so they would keep until Easter. The eggs were decorated and dyed to make them more appealing. In Europe, the biggest egg laid during the Holy Week was wrapped in a red ribbon and given to the King. On Easter morning, there were large quantities of eggs in the households. The return of eggs at mealtime was celebrated by making omelettes and other egg-rich pastries, giving the eggs to the children and exchanging them as gifts. Many customs believe Easter eggs have power to heal, bring wealth and protect. Nowadays, Easter eggs are made of chocolate, and decorated with a ribbon to maintain some of the tradition.

ot Cross Buns

The Rabbit, Official Supplier of Easter Eggs
 

The Rabbit, Official Supplier of Easter Eggs

The rabbit symbolizes abundance. As we all know, rabbits are very fertile and their mating season is in the spring. Associating the rabbit with eggs is a German tradition, and offering chocolate bunnies is an idea that came from 18th century merchants who thought that the idea could be amusing after the sacrifices made during Lent. It is believed the rabbit fills a basket with multicoloured eggs the night before Easter. In the morning, the children have fun hunting for the eggs.

The Lamb, Symbol of Purity

The lamb, which symbolizes virtue and purity is the traditional meat for the Easter meal. It represents the lamb Abraham offered in sacrifice instead of his son Isaac.

Ham, a Royal Dish

Ham was traditionally reserved for royalty and special occasions. Ham has been served during Holy Week celebrations as far back as the Middle Ages. Ham is pork meat that is salted, and often smoked and cured. It comes from the pork's rump, but can also be made from other parts of the hog. Ham can be purchased in various forms, such as ready to serve, ready to cook, or cured.Ham is traditionally served with eggs or an omelette, pork rinds and toasted homemade bread, and covered with maple syrup. This traditional sugar shack meal is a very popular Easter tradition.

Prepare Your Easter Egg Hunt!

The kids will be waiting for the moment you declare the Easter egg hunt open. If the snow in the garden has melted, scatter the eggs in the shrubs. Otherwise, you'll just have to transform your home into a hunting ground! Leave clues such as bits of straw (raffia works well too), rabbit footprints or coloured ribbons where the eggs will be hidden. And if your "kids" are too old plan an Easter egg hunt for adults featuring eggs that are flavoured or contain alcohol!


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