Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, but is also associated with popular symbols such as eggs, candy, bunnies and food. Here is a look at the origins of these beloved symbols.
The Easter Lily
The white blossoms of the lily symbolizes the purity of Jesus. The trumpet-shaped flower that blooms in the spring also symbolizes new life and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. People use the flower to celebrate and enjoy the very essence of the Easter season.
Hot Cross Buns
A favorite during spring and the Easter season. Hot cross buns are a sweet, yeast leavened, spiced roll made with currants or raisins. They have long been a symbol of Good Friday. Each bun has an icing cross on top to signify the crucifixion.
The butterfly’s unique life cycle is meant to symbolize the life of Jesus Christ. The first stage, the caterpillar, stands for his life on Earth. The cocoon stage portrays the crucifixion and the burial of Jesus. The final stage, the colorful butterfly, represents Jesus rising from the dead and the resurrection.
In Germany, children made nests in which the “Osterhase” or Easter Bunny could lay his colored eggs. The nests were replaced with baskets once the tradition was brought to the United States and the Easter contents were expanded to include candy and other treats.
In the United States ham has become a traditional Easter dish. In the early days, meat was slaughtered in the fall. There was no refrigeration so the fresh pork that wasn’t consumed during the winter was cured for spring. This made ham a natural choice for the celebratory Easter dinner.
Easter Egg Hunts & Rolls
The first official White House egg roll took place in 1878 under the presidency of Rutherford Hayes. Egg hunts and rolls have no religious connection, but some will point out that the roll is a symbolic act for the removal of the stone blocking Jesus’ tomb.
The origin of Easter parades dates back to the mid-1800’s in New York City. The wealthy used Easter as an opportunity to show off their new spring wardrobe by walking up and down Fifth Avenue after church. Soon the less fortunate started showing up to watch the spectacle and a tradition was born.
Second only to Halloween in candy sales, Easter is a holiday for children and adults with a serious sweet tooth. Chocolate eggs and candy shaped like bunnies or eggs are extremely popular. Also, jelly beans are often associated with the holiday due to their egg-like shape.
Easter eggs are likely linked to pagan traditions, but eggs have long been used to celebrate spring and the idea of renewal. It’s not unusual that in almost all ancient cultures, eggs are held as a symbol of life. At the Passover Seder, a hardboiled egg dipped in salt water symbolizes both new life and the Passover sacrifice offered at the Temple of Jerusalem.
The Easter Bunny
The cute furry creature is certainly not mentioned in the Bible, but has nonetheless become the most well-known symbol for the spring holiday. The Easter Bunny’s origins are not entirely known, but some stories date his arrival in the United States back to the 1700’s when German immigrants brought their tradition of an egg laying hare called “Osterhase” to the country. Much like children leave cookies for Santa, boys and girls leave carrots out for the Easter Bunny in case he got tired from hopping around all night.
“Food, one assumes, provides nourishment; but Americans eat it fully aware that small amounts of poison have been added to improve its appearance and delay its putrefaction.” – John Cage
There has been quite a bit of controversy these days about eating organic. Recent studies state that it really doesn’t matter if you eat organic foods or not. When something is labeled organic, it usually means that a farm has not used pesticides and has taken considerable care to avoid any cross-contamination. Producing organic food undoubtedly costs more money which is passed on to the consumer. Buying organic tends to be quite a bit more expensive than buying non-organic.
Honestly, I don’t care what the studies are saying about eating organic versus eating non-organic. I would rather not put pesticides into my body as well as wanting to support farmers and food companies that are not using pesticides. I love going to farmers’ markets during the spring, summer and fall and when I am shopping in the grocery store I am willing to pay a bit more for organic food.
If you have decided not to buy organic here is a list of foods that have found to be the most and least contaminated.
I love going to farmers' markets, especially good ones. It's the closest to "farm to table" that I can get without growing my own fruits and vegetables. Yesterday was my first visit to the New Canaan farmer’s market. It’s a good one! I picked up beets, radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peaches and plums. Everything looked great and even though the vendors were busy they were very friendly and seemed happy to be there.
New Canaan Farmers’ Market
Saturday 10am to 2pm
May 12th Through October
Old Center School Parking Lot
South Avenue & Maple Street
Nothing says grilling season like a hot & juicy burger. You can enjoy an American favorite that is new and improved by giving your burger a healthy twist without skimping on flavor. Here are some things that you can do to create a better burger.
Choose Your Patty: For a classic burger it is important to choose the leanest ground beef available. Purists will tell you to use the fattiest ground beef, but if you are trying to cut down on fat and create a healthier burger try using lean meat. I like to use ground sirloin. You also might try: Ground Turkey Breast (usually 99% fat free); Ground Buffalo/Bison (naturally sweet & lean); Veggie Burgers (usually has one seventh the saturated fat of traditional burgers); Fish Burgers; Salmon Burgers (rich in omega-3); Mushroom Burgers (made from large grilled Portobello mushrooms).
Jazz Up Your Burgers: Spices and condiments are key here. Mix in or season your burgers with salt free or low sodium spices. You can get creative here to suit your tastes or mood. I like to use Cajun spices, Italian spices and sometimes a touch of curry spices. You can get a fiber boost and add texture by adding chopped or grated vegetables or herbs.
To Bun Or Not To Bun: Who says a burger must be served on a traditional white bun? Feel free to serve your burgers on 100% whole grain buns or pita pockets. If you are going for a totally bunless burger you might want to try sturdy lettuce or cabbage leaves.
Accessorize: The tasty trimming options are endless, but here are a few ideas. Choose condiments that are low in fat, sodium and sugar. Read the labels on varieties of ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, relish and salsa. Choose low-fat or fat-free varieties of cheese. The white cheeses tend to be lower in fat such as Swiss or provolone. Top your burger with grilled onions and sliced tomatoes. Instead of using iceberg lettuce try radicchio, arugula or romaine. While you’re at it add cucumber slices, radish slices or red pepper rings for some extra crunch.