We were visiting a friend living on Franktown road. It was noon time. All the colored eggs and basket filled with candy and cuddly stuffed bunnies were hidden carefully around his 2 acre yard. After about an hour the parents rounded up the scavengers. All the kids were happy- all except one, her basket was empty.
She said the bigger kids either beat her to the hiding spots or stole what she did find from her basket. It didn’t take long for her big 14 year-old brother to come to the rescue. She pointed out the rude pirates in possession of her Easter treasures. He went on an Easter egg hunt of his own and solved the problem
Later that afternoon I had a chance to talk to him. Proud of his academic achievements in school he was eager to teach me the history and symbolism of the egg-laying bunny he just learned on the internet.
The concept was introduced to America by German immigrants in the late 1800’s. Their bunny was named “Oschter Haws” which translated means hare, not bunny. And the word Easter derives from the pagan goddess Eostre. One day Eostre saved a bird with frozen wings. She turned it into a bunny and because it was still able to lay eggs, we celebrate her magic, kindness and superstition by coloring and decorating eggs in her honor.
He said there is a difference between a rabbit and a hare. Hares are much larger, have a cleft upper lip and are usually more aggressive than bunny rabbits. I wondered how much I would have learned if we had the internet back in the forties.
As I drove home, I realized some things never change. Christians still believe in the symbolism of the crucifixion of Christ, who like the bird with frozen wings, was given a new form called the Son of God. They still practice their spiritual superstitions, dressed in robes of fine linen with deep pockets of gold. And, with the magical power of Eostre, they used the blood of a human man who died on the cross to teach mankind the virtue of poverty, love for one another and kindness as a chalice of opulence for themselves to become one of the wealthiest nations in the world. Somewhere along he way, they lost the eye of perspicuity in the needle of that opulence.
All of that aside, Children are still excited about the Easter egg hunts. Big kids still bully and fight with the little ones and big brothers still run to rescue their little sisters. And last year, I learned the difference between the bunny rabbit and a hare.
David Farside is a Sparks resident and political activist.