Dear Mr Postman - it is excellent to see you again with another letter - and I see it's about the celebration of food after Lent and the renewal of life .. spring lambs, eggs ..
After 40 days of giving things up for Lent - this is the time for a family feast after the fast with a succulent spring roast lamb, roast or new potatoes, fresh young vegetables, onion sauce, and all the trimmings including mint sauce, followed perhaps by rhubarb crumble and custard ..? Then into the foliage sprouting garden for a 'hunt the egg' game .. & an overdose of chocolate for the children & perhaps adults?
The Paschal Lamb or Jesus Christ, is the lamb sacrified for sin, hailed by John the Baptist as the Lamb of God & is tied in with the lamb sacrificed and eaten at the Jewish Passover. The symbolism of faith goes with the symbolism of spring and that's the fine congruity between the Christian feast and the season. The same goes for Easter eggs - the start of spring and a sybmol of fertility and new life - also given as an emblem of the Resurrection.
Chocolate eggs come in all shapes, sizes, flavours taking over the art of egg decorating - a family tradition involving the children. We used to have chickens at home .. so we had lots of eggs and I remember early on painting hard boiled eggs - dipping the eggs into bowls of coloured water ... natural dyeing (beetroot, spinach, tea, onion skins or saffron); then we tried blowing the eggs - a somewhat trickier 'operation' .. and I don't think we were too successful - as we were "get up and go kids" .. always out in the garden running around.
Here in England .. hunt the Easter egg is a favourite .. chocolate eggs placed around the garden - public or private - hoping the dogs won't hunt them down first!! Then everyone is teamed up to look for their particular coloured eggs .. and another orgy of excess can begin!! Afternoon tea would be on the table soon afterwards ...
Spring is ushered in around the world with a host of strange and wonderful religious, secular and pagan traditions .. all celebrating the universal experience of spring as a time of natural and spiritual renewal. These customs are mainly in the northern hemisphere - though no doubt have also been adopted and suitably amended for down under ...
Egg rolling competitions still occur in parts of England and are held each year on the White House lawn (if there's enough room left after the new vegetable patch!?); egg tapping or knocking is another custom practised in the north of England, and is making revival in Louisiana, in the States ... as well as local egg decoration and craft competitions for the children.
After the dark winter months, the lengthening days and the time of sorrow and self-denial during Lent - Easter allows us to let loose and start enjoying the pleasures of life again .. fresh spring air, young fresh food, new ideas, new leaves .. wonderful scents of flowering sweetpeas, roses to come .. the burgeoning of new life for a new season .. it happens every year .. but it makes such a difference!! Enjoy the coming months ...
Thank you Mr Postman .. that's a great letter about Easter and the start of our wonderful seasons of plenty .. are you having roast lamb for lunch today - I expect most people will be having a family lunch and that is what is so important ..
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