The story behind the food we eat on Easter Sunday
By Marcella Escarfuller @bubblegumcatering
Click aqui para español- >La historia tras los alimentos de la Pascua
We’re all familiar with Easter, the Christian holiday celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Everyone has their own Easter traditions, whether that involves church or a large family meal or both. The details on its etymological origins, however, can be somewhat murky, especially when it comes to the traditional Easter foods we consume.
The word “Easter” comes from the name of Saxon goddess Eostre whose festival was celebrated in the springtime. The rabbit was known as the symbol for Eostre, goddess of spring and fertility because rabbits often give birth to large litters in spring. Non-English speaking countries’ name for Easter is generally derived from the Greek and Latin Pascha, meaning Passover, a direct reference to the Jewish Passover holiday, first applied to Jesus’ death and resurrection as early as 50 A.D.
In early Christianity, eggs were one of the foods forbidden for consumption during lent. Early Easter celebrations were marked with widespread consumption of eggs, a tradition that was passed down through generations long after the lent restriction was lifted. Eggs also symbolize life and rebirth in many cultures, adding to the underlying theme of the holiday. The empty Easter eggs we decorate and hide for the children are symbolic of the empty tomb from which Christ rose again.
Lamb may be an obvious reference for some, being as Christ is most often referred to as the lamb that was slain to save humanity. However, eating lamb on Easter has other origins, too. It was often customary in many pagan traditions to consume lamb during their springtime festivals, since spring is when lambs were ready for slaughter.
Why hot cross buns?
Hot cross buns - a sweet bread made with dried fruit and spices - originated in England and were forbidden by its Protestant monarchs until the 18th century. The spices in the buns are said to symbolize the spices used to embalm the body of Christ upon his death. The buns are also generally decorated with a cross in icing on top to symbolize the cross in which Christ died.
The Easter holiday certainly has its many traditions and customs, many of which date back thousands of years. However, you celebrate it, the best tradition of any holiday is sharing memories with friends and family.
Photos courtesy of FoodNetwork.com