Sunday, April 24, 2011

Where Does The Easter Bunny Come From?

For two countries with very similar traditions, Easter is a remarkably dissimilar holiday. Growing up in the UK, Easter always meant:

  • Hollow chocolate eggs filled with sweets
  • Hot cross buns
  • Daffodils
  • Big family get-together/dinner
  • 3 weeks off school, Friday/Mon off for the grown-ups

Over in the US, the key Easter themes seem to be:

  • Easter egg hunts
  • Dying Easter eggs
  • Easter baskets
  • The Easter Bunny
  • 'Peeps' (check out this link to Radmegan and her awesome needle felted peeps - it will also help all you Brits who are wondering what they chuff 'peeps' are, if not a group of Facebook friends....)
  • No chuffing time off work at all.   

.......I'm sure many of you have noticed that religion is missing from both of my lists - because we are essentially an agnostic family. Quite frankly, in both countries, chocolate appearing magically on Easter Sunday is pretty much a religious experience in itself. I'm not sure that John Lennon was fair in saying The Beatles were bigger than Jesus - but I'm sure chocolate is a pretty solid contender.

A lot of people are surprised to learn that the Easter Bunny, and the concept of hiding eggs is not native to the UK. I'm honestly not sure if England is still Easter Egg hunt free - I've been gone for 15 years after all - and somehow I think it's started to be adopted, in the same way that Halloween has become a much bigger deal.

My first Easter Egg hunt was age 26 in Santa Barbara - and I took no prisoners. I do think it's a brilliant and fun tradition, although Anna admitted only tonight that she was a little confused about why a rabbit would leave eggs - after all, mammals have live young don't they?

She wanted to leave carrots out for the Easter Bunny, in the same way we leave mince pies for Father Christmas. The myth was starting to multiply. We did do a small hunt around our barrio backyard this morning, but the Easter Bunny also left more substantial gifts in the form of a much-longed for Easter Lily for Anna and a bumble-bee balloon for Lucy. We did not try to link Easter and its associated fertility rituals with the giant bumble-bee balloon. It's just something we knew would make her really happy. And it did, briefly, until it came loose from its ribbon and drifted skywards.

Is there anything sadder than a two year old watching a balloon gradually float away? They take a heartbreaking amount of time to disappear from view too. She was still pointing and imploring us to 'go get it' when it was a pinprick speck dancing a waltz with a SouthWest Airlines 747.

A couple of days before Easter, we'd dyed eggs at our friends house - 120 eggs painted every colour of the rainbow:

Jen chose the standard inorganic dyes on the right, but dabbled with organic homemade dyes on the left, she used coffee, beets, blueberries and turmeric - boiled up with white vinegar. They all held up surprisingly well, although they took longer to work than the shop-bought dyes, and took a lot more prep and washing up (something I would imagine - as not being a true friend, I managed to bugger off home long before the pans hit the sink.....)

Then, yesterday Anna went to another friend's house and dyed eggs, had an Easter Egg hunt, and made a huge Easter Bunny cake. 

It has been Easterpalooza round here, but a lot of fun - that is until the chocolate crash hits at 10am - as evidenced by this downed princess....a princess without a bumble-bee balloon.

Oh Easter Bunny, you fickle friend.


How to beat QWOP said...

Haha, dude, all your posts are side-splitting :P

Almost American said...

3 weeks off at Easter? Not at any of my schols! We did get 4 weeks at uni. though.

Jocelyn Nelson said...

I can confirm that there are now Easter egg hunts in the UK. Most National Trust properties around me seemed to have one.
On another note, my mom (in CA) sent me (in Yorkshire) a giant box filled with Cadbury creme eggs (my favourite childhood Easter treat). She obviously doesn't realise how absurd that is. She also forgot to claim the value was under $20 (she included some other Easter gifts) so I had to pay duty and fees of £23. For Cadbury creme eggs. Argh!

AliBlahBlah said...

Oh Jocelyn - that comment cracked me up. 23 quid for creme eggs - and the worst of it is, they're supposed to be the same, but the Hersheys Cadbury chocolate doesn't taste nearly as good.

Still, it's the thought that counts, right?!

mrs cheese said...

Hi I stumbled upon your blog and I love this post, it made me laugh out loud.
I 'had' to eat one of the kids eggs last night as I think it was going off........ well it had been open since sunday!
Off for a pootle around your blog now

voyance gratuite en ligne said...

I’ll immediately grab your rss feed as I can not find your email subscription link or newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly let me know in order that I could subscribe. Thanks.