Easter Funnies and Easter Bunnies
Rabbiting on About Easter
The Things Children Say About Easter
My children had just returned from the usual Easter egg hunt along the banks of a local canal where they had discovered miniature cream eggs in the grass and pretended that fairies had deposited them amongst the wild spring flowers. They knew that the eggs had been put there by me but it was still an enjoyable experience for all concerned.
"Mum? Why does it always move around?" my seven-year-old son enquired as I battled with the washing-up, later that afternoon. Soap operas and kitchen sink dramas are an everyday occurrence in our house, dishes or not.
"Easter," he mumbled, through a thick, chocolate moustache.
Does anyone know why it moves around? I deliberated, as I searched my memory banks for a meaningful eggs-planation. Thank goodness Christmas is always on the same day each year, although once every two years or not at all would be more preferable from a busy mother's point of view. This kitchen-sink speculation as I call it has become my speciality since having a family of four. From that very spot, I philosophise and devise ambitious schemes to change the world although I never seem to remember any of them once I've left the kitchen.
"Easter moves around because of something to do with the church calendar," I muttered as I squirted more suds into the sink and removed tiny chocolate fingerprints from the worktop. I wasn't quite certain that my statement was entirely correct. I could do a bit of research later, I mused, seeing my son was perfectly happy with my answer. But then along came the next question - or two to be precise.
"Why is it called GOOD Friday when Jesus was crucified? It wasn't very good for him was it?"
I couldn't contain my amusement at his logical observation which might even be considered blasphemous in some circles. "Stop asking all these questions or I won't buy you any more eggs or chocolate bunnies," I scolded him lightheartedly.
Several Easter bunnies I'd bought and had expertly secreted away had already been discovered only to be deliciously decapitated by some chocolate-eating fiend who wished to remain anonymous. This year my devious bunch of kids had even managed to carefully remove the chocolate eggs and re-wrap the foil paper around the plastic moulds so they still appeared intact in their cardboard boxes on top of the kitchen dresser.
"What do rabbits and eggs have to do with the crucifixion anyway?" an irritating little voice piped up again.
"I don't know... I really don't - they have more to do with fertility than anything."
OH NO! I shouldn't have mentioned fertility... now he'll be asking me about the birds and the bees as well as bunnies!
Ah, that's it! It's all coming back to me now. Easter was named after Astarte the ancient fertility goddess - it had nothing to do with Jesus at all originally. I was quite pleased with myself that I'd actually remembered something from those distant pre-motherhood years before my brain cells became numbed by too much time spent at the kitchen sink.
I eventually researched all the necessary information about Good Friday and explained everything to my son in great depth, adding my own interpretation at the end as I always do.
"You know what I think? If Jesus had come to earth as a housewife instead of a carpenter then he would have been crucified every day of the year and not just on Good Friday."
Who Could Say No to a Cute Easter Bunny With a Basket-full of Eggs?
Easter Can be Eggs-asperating at Times
My observation must have had some impact. That evening - with none of the usual prompting from me - my son offered to help with the dishes. And that night as he slept contentedly, his belly full of Bunnies, I searched my bookshelves high and low for further details as to why Easter moves around and eventually discovered the following information on the internet:
"Easter falls on the first Sunday subsequent to the first full moon after the vernal equinox (March 21). Thus it can occur as early as March 22 and as late as April 25. (If the full moon after the equinox falls on Sunday, Easter follows a week later.) Originally, Easter was celebrated on the same day as the Jewish Passover. Since the Jewish calendar is lunar, Passover can fall on any day of the week and some Church fathers were distressed that the Lenten fast should end on any day other than a Sunday. They argued about it until the 8th century, when the church officially adopted the procedure we have now. Nobody alive today would have been around to see an Easter Sunday on the earliest possible date of the 22nd. This last occurred 190 years ago in 1818. Only those 95 and over will have been around in 1913 when, as in 2008, it fell on 23rd March. It will be 2160 before it happens again on the 23rd and 2285 when it is next on the 22nd March."
But try explaining all that to a seven-year-old chocoholic!
'What Have Rabbits and Eggs got to do with Easter Anyway?'
Embrace Diversity in Celebration of an Entrepreneurial Easter!
So, in praise of Astarte, the fertility goddess, who has nothing to do with Jesus as far as I'm aware, let's celebrate Easter anyway in whatever way you choose, even if it's only an excuse to overindulge in chocolate. But here we have a problem for anyone who is a vegan or a diabetic or someone who is on an Atkins friendly low carbohydrate diet. Not forgetting those kindly folk who are well aware that cocoa beans are harvested by some very poorly paid workers who are blatantly taken advantage of to feed the ever-hungry bellies of western civilisation.
Easter, whether you choose to celebrate it or not, is like most celebratory dates on the calendar, a commercial enterprise where those in sales and marketing know they can make quite a bit of money out of the rest of us. Adults may not be happy about the price of Easter eggs and will openly bemoan the fact that Cadbury's cream eggs have shrunk even further since last year, but ultimately their children will be content - for a while at least.
The altruistic among us will view Easter as a time of renewed hope, a resurrection of things lost - the return of the sun, lighter evenings, You can explain to your children the joy of new life and demonstrate this by mentioning the fluffy little spring lambs frolicking in the fields - while also explaining how these spring lambs managed to spring onto your table dressed in a bit of mint sauce. Everything has its own particular inconsistency to be explained away to the next generation and it is our responsibility as parents to see that we can do this in the best way possible without causing offence to other cultures, religions, vegetarians, diabetics etc.
The same can be said of Christmas and any other dates on the church calendar. The trick nowadays is to embrace diversity and be tolerant of the beliefs of others whether they live in your own country or hail from elsewhere. There are far more advantages in embracing diversity than being judgemental and if you take the time to investigate other customs and traditions thoroughly enough, they will likely not be any more curious or contradictory than your own.
Eggs-ellent Easter Activities for Kids
Activities to Make your Kids Happy Little Bunnies Over the Easter Break
© 2015 Stella Kaye