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Updated: March 29, 2013 16:13 IST

A time for renewal

NEETI SARKAR
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Former Polish soccer star and goalkeeper of FC Liverpool and Real Madrid, Jerzy Dudek , decorates a chocolate Easter egg during a meeting with children at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, Poland, on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 on an invitation from First Lady Anna Komorowska. Catholic Poland has a tradition of painting and decorating eggs for Easter.
AP Former Polish soccer star and goalkeeper of FC Liverpool and Real Madrid, Jerzy Dudek , decorates a chocolate Easter egg during a meeting with children at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, Poland, on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 on an invitation from First Lady Anna Komorowska. Catholic Poland has a tradition of painting and decorating eggs for Easter.

CELEBRATION Easter is about remembrance, celebration and feasting. NEETI SARKAR looks at the connection between Easter eggs and the risen Christ

It’s that time of the year when trees are budding, flowers are splashing the landscape with lively colours and the world seems a lot happier. But that’s not all. This is the season when the air smells of yummy delights from the kitchen or perhaps from the neighbourhood bakery!

Think Easter and you’re perhaps already thinking of eggs and bunnies. But have you ever wondered what the two have to do with the festival that marks the resurrection of Christ?

The origin of these two Easter symbols date back hundreds of years and have evolved radically over time. The Easter bunny and eggs started off as two different symbols for the same thing- fruitfulness or fertility. And of course, they were used to celebrate the coming of spring.

Delving into what these treats represent, home baker Christabel George states: “As history suggests, in Christianity, Easter eggs symbolise the empty tomb of Jesus. Though an egg appears to be like the stone of a tomb, we know that a bird hatches from an egg. Similarly, the Easter egg is a reminder that Jesus rose from the grave, and that those who believe in Him will experience eternal life.”

Back in the day, the outer layer of an edible Easter egg was almost inedible because of its hardened texture. Easter eggs supposedly got a chocolaty makeover only in the 19th century, and were produced mainly in France and Germany. It was only when commercial giant, Cadbury, began mass producing them with pure cocoa did chocolate Easter eggs take the world by storm.

“When I was little I used to think Easter bunnies lay Easter eggs, that too chocolate ones,” quips Anna Mathew, a collegiate. “I still remember when we were kids, the only kind of Easter eggs we got were the huge oval shaped ones that were made of hardened sugar. The outer portion was too hard to bite into so I would only enjoy the chocolate and edible gem filling that came with it. Chocolate Easter eggs that became popular much later came as a relief to people like me who were sick of the sugar icing ones,” she adds.

Today, Easter eggs are also made of marzipan and have a gourmet appeal as they are often dipped in or coated with expensive imported chocolate.

If you’re wondering what the white fuzzy animal that lives in a burrow has to do with Easter, legend has it that the Easter Bunny brings baskets filled with multi-hued eggs, candy and sometimes toys to the homes of children on the night before Easter and places the baskets in a designated spot or hides them somewhere in the house or garden for the children to find when they wake up in the morning.

The Easter Bunny seems to be to Easter what Santa Clause is to Christmas! Given that the bunny is connected with Easter and that carrots are associated with rabbits, it doesn’t come as a surprise that carrots are the ingredient of choice for holiday desserts.

And there are a flood of recipes that call for the use of carrot online. According to Chef Vinesh Johny, co-proprietor of Lavonne, “Carrot cake is undoubtedly among the most popular Easter treats and since the celebration involves family, children often prefer carrot cupcakes.

Other popular sweet treats that are made during this festival include sugar cookies (in the shape of Easter eggs), orange cream pie, pavlova and cream puffs.”

Despite the origin of the umpteen treats we will indulge in today, we’re grateful that food has a special way of reminding us about the significance of special days like Easter!

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