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  • Martin Castle

"For I remember it is Easter morn, and life and love and peace are all new born."

Updated: Apr 5, 2021


On Friday, Good Friday for Christians, it was possible to hold a service at my local church for the first time since March 23rd 2020, more than a year previously. It was a gentle service of contemplation as befits the events of the day nearly 2000 years previously. Today is Easter Sunday - the most important day in the Christian calendar and services are being held across the Christian world. It is a day of joy and delight and a welcome to new beginnings - of course captured for children in the chocolate of eggs. As I write George is playing the organ at Winchester Cathedral - loud, dramatic and uplifting.

Church of St Margaret of Antioch Thorpe Market, Norfolk

The Good Friday service coincides with the beginning of this blog - like our current 'new life' - a year old. Here in the UK there are growing signs of new life all around. We are a little behind here in the garden compared to other parts of the UK: the blackthorn is just opening and the green tinge of the hedgerows is still subtle; daffodils nod everywhere in full yellow prowess; rhubarb is fighting its way above ground and the willow and dogwood stems are alive with yet to open buds.

Whatever mistakes were made by those in authority the vaccination programme here is going apace and I will receive a second dose within a month. Of course science is not perfect and some feel a little unwell after their jab; others are unable to have the protection it offers; and for a few it may make them ill. The vast majority will be protected and that will allow us a return to the life we knew before and to undertake what we used to enjoy unthinkingly once more. Of course, it will never be quite the same and, having been in school with a group of 11 year olds, I fear for what the lockdowns and school closures have done to their social development.


So Easter is a good time to look ahead with a brighter thought in mind - it won't all be easy. Today is a beautiful warm spring day in NN with a newly hatched chick in the pen - a day that seems to have not a care in the world - yet tomorrow we are forecast rain and sleet and temperatures in the wind of -5 degrees! May your year ahead be full of days like today.


As with celebrations in most formal religions, Easter has its roots in a time before the advent of the modern religion. The date of Easter Sunday is calculated on a lunisolar calendar based on the Jewish calendar. In the Bible, Christ dies and is resurrected during the Jewish festival of Passover. Many of the Christian traditions of Easter relate closely to those of Passover, including the eating of lamb, which in Jewish culture symbolises the annual sacrifice of a lamb in the Temple, and in Christianity symbolises the sacrifice of Christ, the Lamb of God. Easter is a moveable feast - The first Council of Nicea (325 AD) fixed Easter as the Sunday after the first full moon after spring equinox. This ‘Paschal’ full moon is not the astronomical one that we see in the sky. Instead, in the Western Church it is based on a complex 84-year cycle, and in the Orthodox Churches a 19-year cycle.

According to the English monk and scholar the Venerable Bede (672–735 AD) in his work 'De temporum ratione' (The Reckoning of Time), the name Easter originates from an Anglo-Saxon springtime goddess named Ēostre, who gave her name to the month Ēosturmōnaþ, the equivalent of April (Wikipedia will give you much more detail). In the 19th century, various scholars, including Jacob Grimm (the eldest Brother Grimm), attempted to link Bede’s Ēostre with Germanic Easter traditions around hares and eggs, speculating that hares must have been sacred to Ēostre. We don’t really know how the Anglo-Saxons worshipped Ēostre, but it does seem likely that many of our Easter traditions involving eggs and hares or rabbits have their origins in pre-Christian beliefs around the cycles of nature and fertility.


Easter Monday is the day after Easter Sunday and is a national holiday in many countries. In some places it is called Ball Monday. Egg rolling races are held in many counties including Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S.A.

There is a big race held on the lawn of the White House in Washington D.C. and sometimes even the President takes part! Dolly Madison, the wife of the fourth American President, organized an egg roll in Washington, D.C. She had been told that Egyptian children used to roll eggs against the pyramids so she invited the children of Washington to roll hard-boiled eggs down the hilly lawn of the new Capitol building. In 1880, the First Lady invited children to the White House for the egg roll because officials had complained that they were ruining the Capitol lawn - I bet they were men in grey suits! It has been held there ever since then and currently Easter Monday is the only day of the year when tourists are allowed to wander over the White House lawn. The wife of the President sponsors it for the children of the entire country. The event is open to children twelve years old and under and adults are allowed only when accompanied by children! The first egg to reach the bottom unbroken is the winner. Sadly the event for 2021 has been cancelled. Jill biden promises it will return.


In Hungary, Easter Monday is called Ducking Monday. This is because there is a very old tradition that young men would duck or dip their wife or girlfriend in a pond!!! In central Europe as well as wetting there's a spanking thing that goes on - you can look that one up yourself but I did witness it in the 1990's!

The Egg Dance (c1620), Pieter Brueghel the Younger

There are also some quirky customs in Britain, such as egg jarping – a game similar to conkers where two players tap the pointed ends of their eggs together until one breaks! (I have a memory of this but for the life of me cannot place it but as The world egg-jarping championships have been held each Easter Sunday at Peterlee Cricket And Social Club County Durham, England, since 1983 maybe it was when I was at college) Another Easter tradition is hop egg or egg dancing, where eggs are laid on the ground and the aim is to dance among them, damaging as few as possible. In medieval England, people would not have work on Easter Monday or the Tuesday either and it was called 'Hocktide'.


Recipe

If you have a good supply of eggs (we are somewhat over-run at present as the girls are all laying like crazy) then this is a good recipe to use a few eggs.

Quiche Lorraine

Serves 4

Prep Time15 mins Cook Time55 mins 10”/25cm pie dish


Ingredients:

Quiche Filling

6 large eggs

½ cup single cream

½ cup milk

1 cup streaky bacon cooked and crumbled—about 6-8 slices

½ cup parmesan reggiano, finely grated

1 cup white cheddar cheese


3 Spring (green) onions washed, ends snipped and finely chopped

½tsp salt

¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

a pinch of paprika

a pinch of celery salt

a pinch nutmeg


Shortcrust recipe

1¼ cups all purpose flour

½ tsp salt

½ cup cold butter diced

4-6 tbsp ice cold water


Method:

Shortcrust

1. Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/gasmark 5.

2. In a food processor (or by hand), combine flour and salt. Add the very cold diced butter and pulse until the flour mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Slowly add in the ice water (while pulsing) just until the dough begins to form.


3. On a lightly floured surface form pastry into a ball and roll out to a diameter large enough to fit the pie dish. Transfer to the pie dish and refrigerate for 30 minutes.


4. Remove the shortcrust from the fridge and bake for 10 minutes. Use pie weights to weigh down the crust .


Quiche Filling

1. Cook and crumble bacon and shred cheeses. Set aside.


2. In a medium mixing bowl, beat eggs with cream, milk, salt, pepper, paprika, celery salt, nutmeg, and onions. Set aside.


3. Remove the shortcrust from the oven and increase temp to 210°C/425°F/gasmark 5.


4. Evenly spread bacon and cheeses over the shortcrust base. Pour egg mixture over top.


5. Bake at 210°C/425°F for 15 minutes. Lower temp to 160°C/325°F and continue baking for 30 minutes.


from: Bri at Monday Sunday Kitchen


Word of the Day is ...

"Tripudiate"
[trahy-PYOO-dee-eyt]

(v.)-To dance for joy; to gleefully stamp one’s feet in celebratory fashion.

-To figuratively trample on an opponent in triumph; to dance upon the graves of your fallen enemies!

From Latin “tripudiatus” past participle of “tripudiare” from “tripudium” (a religious dance) from “tri-” (three) + “pes” or “pedis” (foot).


ps: no ps this time!



Quotes

"Let everything you do be done in love.”- 1 Corinthians 16:14
"The great gift of Easter is hope.”- Cardinal Basil Hume (1923 – 1999)

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