History of Food

History of Food

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter, Passover, Eggs, and Rabbit

Nary to say one would be hard pressed to for another time of the year that has more of a solid relationship with food than Easter and Passover. 

What is the first thing you might think of when you think of Easter?  Eggs!  Why are eggs so associated to Easter?  Easter occurs in the Spring time of each year. Spring time is known as a season of rebirth after a cold, dreary winter.   Eggs have traditionally been associated with rebirth of life.  In addition, Christian view Easter as a rebirth of the religious philosphy and the rebirth of Christ.  There is no other food that is more symbolized with rebirth than that of the egg.

Passover also occurs around Easter time.  While the Jewish religion does not hold the same philosphical premises as Christians, Passover celebrates a rebirth - indirectly.  Passover celebrates the exodus of the Jews from Egypt - the end of slavery of the Jews by the Egyptians - a rebirth of their freedom.  This can be another symbolism of why eggs are so traditional during this time of the year.

The next item that is closely associated with Easter is the rabbit.  The relationship of the rabbit to Easter is as much of a pagan symbol of Easter as the Christmas treee is to Christmas.  The rabbit is a extraordinarily fertile animal.  This is yet another symbolism of the season of Spring whereas the environment sees a fertile rebirth - leaves are sprouting from the trees, flowers are growing, the brown grass is growing beautifully green. The Pennsylvania Dutch imported the Easter Hare who delivered colored eggs to the good children, effectively combining the rabbit with eggs, creating the Easter Rabbit.

As a connoisseur of food history and a person who always looks for patterns and symbolism, I found it very intriguing of the relationship of Easter, Passover, Eggs, and Rabbit.  As a person who was raised a Christian I very much enjoy participating in a Passover Seder.  If you have not participated in a Passover Seder, at least once, I encourage you to put it on your bucket list - you will learn so very much.