Sunday, April 4, 2010
EASTER: RESURRECTION, EGGS AND THE BUNNY*
As Good Friday is bad, Easter Sunday is good. Jesus was resurrected and this day--approximately in the year 33 CE (common era, the politically correct version of Anno Domini, AD), which means he was 33 years old (mind you, much of this is conjecture anyway)--ending the 40 (or so) days of Lent, where fasting and other forms of penance are practiced. The number 40 comes up time and again in The Bible: Jesus, for example, spent 40 days fasting before the Last Supper and 40 hours tombed--the period Friday night until Sunday morning--which is why Easter occurs on Sunday. There was, as we are taught, Noah and his 40 days and nights, and more.
The resurrection is, of course, the Greatest Miracle. What was the evidence? None! Yes, placed in a tomb on Friday, when opened on Sunday, the body was missing. Ergo.... I could comment here, but such is the nature of miracles. The Bible does not quite say where Jesus went after resurrection. There are references of Hell, then Heaven.
What do people do on Easter Sunday? Some go to church. The Costco chain and some liquor stores are closed, but Wal-Mart, movie theaters and restaurants are all open. Major League Baseball celebrated its first pitch in Boston, versus the Yankees.
What I remember most about Easter were those colored eggs. Of course, there is a history here, for an egg symbolized rebirth, at least, in the past. I bet you didn't know that the eggs you buy in supermarkets are unfertilized, and, therefore, cannot be hatched into a chick. Anyway, originating to the beginnings of Christianity, as eggs could not be consumed during Lent, they became prized on Easter Sunday. The matter of color could have begun when the boiled egg Saint Mary Magdalene (here to the left by Gregor Erhart from the Louvre) delivered to Emperor Tiberius miraculously (yes, another miracle) turned blood red, representing the blood of the arisen Christ. In Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, Mary is the Holy Grail, and just because this was the punch line is not proof that this concept is pure fiction.
In case you do not know how to color eggs (my other cooking hint was "How to Roast a Turkey"), first, carefully place the eggs in a pot of cold water. Turn on to max heat and, with the first bubble as point zero, boil for three minutes (although, clearly, if the eggs are bouncing about, lower the heat), turn off and let cool. We always used Paas easter egg dyes when I was a child, but, more recently, natural colors are more and more being used: blue (canned blueberries), red (canned cherries), green (spinach), orange (carrots), orange (lemon peels), and so on. Use about a teaspoon of vinegar/cup of water. Alas, the colors are not as intense. I must have had a good eye of picking the right egg, for a good percentage of the time, my egg pecked well and ended up being the last one whole.
The White House egg roll, a 130 year old tradition, is tomorrow. President Truman, though, in all his years in office, never did host one. 30,000 tickets were distributed in 2009. The Easter Bunny became a regular from 1969, and many times is a guest celebrity.
The notion of the Easter Bunny delivering eggs originated in Germany half a millennium ago. No, nothing in The Bible about this. There is a double life-giving symbol here, for rabbits breed prolifically. There is also an analogy here with Santa Claus and Christmas, but NORAD does not track rabbits. Unlike turkey at Thanksgiving, rabbits, with a few exceptions, are not eaten at Easter, although you will see their shape in cakes, cookies and that once a year chocolate bunny. There is also a rapping Easter Bunny if you want to be entertained today.
Wow, there was just a 7.2 earthquake in Northern Baja, swaying buildings in Los Angeles. Early reports shows two deaths, more than a hundred injuries and a whole lot of broken windows.
Total number of visitors to site: 34987
Visitors this week: 1110
Number of countries: 146