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Easter

Eggstraordinary

Easter eggs, whether hollowed or made of candy, are painted in bright colors to celebrate spring and as symbols of renewal. Some of the mare elaborately painted ones like the Ukrainian Pvsanki eggs with their complex pattern of lines and colors are true works of art. Others painted theirs red to signify the blood of Christ or green to commemorate Christ's last supper.

Easter eggs are used in egg-rolling contests and given as gifts, between lovers, from adults to children. In medieval times, masters gave these mufti-hued eggs as Easter gifts to their servants. In America, children search for the hidden eggs. In many other cultures, egg also plays an important role as a "festival" food as it symbolises the life renewal process.

Its round shape is also associated with harmony and unity. The eggs, together with domestic fowls and animals, are traditionally used as offerings in various farming rites and festivals in India and China. They are presented to the gods for the protection of crops as well as for the well-being of the people in the community.

In traditional Indian households, eggs and "gingerly" ail are given to girls reaching puberty to strengthen them. They take this for 16 days upon the onset of their first period: - The Chinese use eggs in many family celebrations. The eggs are dyed crimson red (for good luck) when a newborn reaches the first month.(man yue) after his/her birth.

They are given together with other man yue gifts to relatives, friends and well wishers who have given presents to the family during the confinement month. Man yue gifts vary according to the dialect groups but usually contain cakes, chicken, glutinous rice, traditional pastries-and pig's trotters: Red eggs are a common item in them.

Besides its new life and harmony connotations, the humble egg was a delicacy consumed only during festive occasions in Chinese agrarian community: The more traditional Chinese also consume eggs with long noodles on their birthday. They are considered auspicious food, which symbolise longevity for the diners.

Eggs are presented to guests attending Malay wedding after the feasting called kenduri. The feast is one that is prepared "gotong-royong" style where everyone chip in for the lavish meal to be partaken by all. At the end of the kenduri eggs in fanciful packaging or pretty holders are given to the guests as the sign of a happy and fertile union of the bride and groom. It is hoped that the couple will produce many children from the union.

Eggs And Rabbits For All Seasons

Good Friday and Easter are festivals of remembrance and thanksgiving in the Christian calendar. Good Friday marks the crucifixion of Christ for his religious teachings while Easter, which falls on the Sunday after Good Friday between 22 March and 35 April, celebrates his resurrection. The significance of this very important festival is that it symbolises the victory of Christ over death, thus bringing eternal life to all who believe in him.

Easter is also celebrated by non-Christians as a springtime festival, new beginning and holidays. Many of the customs and practises of the spring festivals are pagan in origin and have nothing to do with Christianity. It is believed that Easter is a derivation from the Scandinavian "Ostra" and "Ostern"/"Eastre" - both mythological goddesses signifying spring/birth and fertility. These are represented by the painted Easter eggs and the Easter rabbit respectively.

Bunnies Here, There And Everywhere

Rabbit is revered as a symbol of new life and fertility during Spring as it is the most fertile animal. It was first into edible Easter bunnies from flour and sugar by the Germans in the 1800s. There are many other famous rabbits imprinted cultures or folk traditions. Jade Rabbit, Yi Du is believed to live on the moon with the Moon Fairy, Chang Er, Chang Er was a consort of a tyrannical rules. Hou. The latter wanted to live forever and had concocted the elixir of life.

Chang Er wanted to save the people from her husband's tyrannical ruler and downed the elixir. She rose to the moon and has been there since accompanied eternally by Wu Kang, the woodcutter and Yi Du. The latter was put there after it offered its own flesh as sacrifices to the fairies.

The rabbit/hare was well represented in many children's classics like the Aesop's fable, Hare and tortoise, Lewis Carroll's great nonsense story Alice in Wonderland and Beatrix Potters' The Tale of Peter Rabbit. These books have been favorite of many children and have started many of us on our reading journey. Who could forget the moral behind the race of the Hare and Tortoise?

Who do you identify in terms of personal character traits - Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, or Peter "the naughty one that sneaks into and narrowly escapes from Mr McGregor's garden"? There would not be any adventure if Alice had not followed "Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late!" Rabbit with a watch in its waistcoat pocket into the rabbit hole.

There is Roger Rabbit of the Who framed Roger Rabbit? fame and the beast of not-so-cuddly proportions in Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit in some of the more recent celluloid offerings. They are visually engaging and entertaining for the whole family with their wacky and very human-like fluffy characters in their rabbit-woman-man entanglement and hare-raising adventure respectively.

However, the most recognisable and best known of all the animated rabbits has to be "Eh, what's up Doc?" Bugs Bunny, the original trickster (believed by the Native Americans). He was born 66 years ago and has appeared in countless Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons entertaining audiences of all ages with his antics and fights with Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Marvin Martian, Daffy Nerdlucks aliens in  Space Jam featuring Michael Jordan and teaming up with the equally hare-brained Daffy to assist and confound Brendan Fraser in the 2003's big screen offering, Looney Tunes: Back in Action.

 

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