Easter is this coming Sunday and after decades of coloring eggs and making baskets and conducting Easter egg hunts, I have no idea how this traditional started. The whole thing is a mystery to me, I have just accepted it all these years without question. It’s very interesting how it all got started.
It seems this German practice of bringing Easter eggs started in the 15th and 16th centuries in two parts of Germany, Alsace and Rhineland. In the 18th century it was brought to the United States by German settlers who came to reside in Pennsylvania Dutch country. Tradition has it that children would create brightly colored “nests” made out of hats or bonnets, in their homes, and if they were good they would find brightly colored eggs in them. The eggs were brought by the “Oster Hawse.” After the idea caught on and spread, and the nest was replaced with the modern day Easter basket.
Eggs and rabbits were considered symbols of fertility. Birds lay eggs and rabbits give birth in Spring. And eggs are also reported to symbolize the Resurrection with new life.
I miss getting ready for Easter, now that the girls are grown. Of course, before Easter Day we always colored at least two dozen eggs, most of which we gave away. Every Easter I always made two huge baskets full of toys and candy. I bought plastic eggs of all sizes and hid them all round the house the night before Easter. The eggs were full of candy. I put a certain number of eggs in every room of the house. I drew and cut out a paper rabbit and inside I wrote a poem that how told many eggs were in each room. When the girls woke up, they were so excited to find all the hidden eggs. They loved the hunt more then the overflowing baskets, which they opened after the hunt and breakfast. Then we would all get dressed and go over to my parents for dinner and spend the day.
This year there will be no eggs, except those I make for the 17 Day Diet. There will be no baskets, no candy, no toys. My parents are gone. I decided to make reservations at a local restaurant. We’ll go there with my brother and enjoy a nice dinner.
It’ll be a different kind of Easter, but a Happy Easter nonetheless.