It’s a snowy Easter morning in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. But that’s okay. Canadian Easter bunnies don’t mind the snow.
Tonight about 5:30, the family starts to arrive. I’ll get someone to carve the turkey and someone else to make the gravy. Yesterday I mashed up yams and butter and maple syrup so I’ll pop that dish in the oven once the turkey is done. We’re having all the fixings—stuffing, pickles, cranberries. A big salad.
And, of course, dessert. Instead of Easter eggs, we’re having Easter Cupcakes. My favourite Crave Cupcakes. Plus, strawberries for the health conscious.
I hope the Easter bunny is good to you and that you are surrounded by family and friends.
The long winter is over and this Sunday, April 20th, is finally Easter Sunday. Last Friday, I saw my first robin so I’m convinced spring has arrived. Now it’s time to start looking for the Easter Bunny.
Above, see the baby Easter Bunny.
The Easter Bunny is a special kind of rabbit that lays eggs. Actually, they only lay Easter Eggs, not the kind with yolks. And they started doing this in the 18th century in the USA.
Apparently, German immigrants brought the tradition to America. To make things more confusing, these German immigrants were known as the Pennsylvania Dutch. They were really the Pennsylvania Deutsch, and Deutsch means German. But that’s another story.
At any rate, for this tradition, the Osterhase brought coloured eggs to the good little boys and girls. However, hase means hare, not rabbit. So the Northern Europeans had an Easter Hare rather than an Easter Rabbit.
The two animals look somewhat alike, but they are different species, and they cannot breed.
Hares are usually larger than rabbits and have longer ears.
Hares live above ground in nests. Their young are born fully furred and with their eyes open so they can take care of themselves soon after they are born.
Rabbits dig underground tunnels, and live in these burrows or warrens. Their young are born blind, hairless, and helpless.
Hares have 48 chromosomes. Rabbits have 44 chromosomes.
Rabbits are kept as pets, but hares have not been domesticated. And, in North America at least, Hares do not lay Easter Eggs.
I hope the Easter Bunny brings you lots of chocolate this Sunday.
This Sunday, April 13, 2014 is Easter Sunday. Last year, Easter was on March 31, 2013. The year before that, it was April 8, 2012. So what gives?
Correction: In 2014, Easter Sunday falls on April 20th, not the 13th. In my excitement to meet the Easter Bunny, I accidentally moved Easter a week ahead! This is an example of how confusing it is to have the date change every year. 🙂
The date of Easter (a Christian celebration) changes each year, according to the phases of the moon.
Well, not quite.
The date of Easter varies from March 22 to April 25. In the beginning, the Christian church fathers wanted to observe Easter right after the Jewish Passover. Passover is based on lunar cycles. Basically, Easter Sunday falls on the first Sunday following the first full moon following the northern Spring Equinox. If the full moon occurs on the Equinox, the calculation is taken from there.
However, the celebration is not really dependent on the lunar calendar but rather on tables that were created a long time ago, in 325 AD, in a place called Nicaea. Using the tables, the full moon is considered the 14th day of a lunar month and that may differ from the actual full moon by a day or even two days. Since the full moon can occur on different dates depending on where you stand on the planet, the use of the tables was necessary. These tables were not astronomically exact, but they were close. For one thing, the equinox was considered to be on March 21, although astronomically the equinox falls on March 20 in most years.
In 1583, the tables were modified slightly, but the tables are still used to determine the date of Easter.
The Earliest Ever Easter was Sunday March 22, 1818.
That will happen again in 2285.
The Latest Easter was Sunday April 25, 1943.
That will happen again in 2038.
Over the years, suggestions have been made for changing the date of Easter. It has been proposed that the Easter calculation be based strictly on direct astronomical observation. Another proposal was made in Britain to fix the date as the first Sunday after the second Saturday in April. However, nothing has changed yet.
In Calgary, Alberta, Canada, we have had snow and zero Celsius temperatures until the end of last week. In fact, it seems that March came in like a lion and left the same way. So we were not ready for a Spring Celebration in March. Having Easter show up on April 13th is more appropriate for us.
What about Easter Eggs?
No one knows the origin of decorating eggs for Easter, but I’m sure you grew up with one or both of these customs.
- Hard boiling eggs in water coloured with food colouring.
- Poking a hole in either end of the shell, blowing out the contents (to be used later for scrambled eggs) and then decorating the shell with felt markers or gluing on bits of fabric.
Perhaps you suspended your pretty egg shells from a branch of pussy willow, another harbinger of spring.
You might like to know that the world’s largest Easter Egg is located in my home province of Alberta, in the town of Vegreville. It is 31 feet long and weighs 5,512 pounds. Unfortunately, it is not made of chocolate.
Vegreville Pysanka from Wikipedia
You can read about Vegreville’s giant Easter egg, or Pysanka, here. Ukrainian Easter eggs are known as pysanky and the tradition of decorating them dates to the pre-Christian era.
This Sunday, how are you welcoming Spring and Easter? Will you have coloured hard boiled eggs? What colour? Or will you have scrambled eggs for breakfast while admiring your Easter Egg tree? Or will you settle for the newer tradition of chocolate eggs? Will you hide any?
Easter Eggs in a cup from iStockphoto.com #000008542559
pussy willows and Easter eggs from thinkstockphotos.com #179299286
Vegreville Pysanka from Wikipedia