The above are all synonymous with Easter, in many cases ritual having survived from ancient times, not all having Religious connotations.
The connection with rabbits most likely emerged from pagan times having no specific Christian interpretation.
Being extraordinary fertile creatures rabbits became a symptom of new life as did renewed growth with the onset of Spring.
Eggs too represented new life and the symbolism no doubt ante-dated Christ, however they were coloured and blessed, exchanged and eaten during the rites of Spring. In later times eggs were strongly associated with the resurrection of Christ, who rose from a sealed tomb, and in comparison, the hen, breaking through an egg shell, brought forth life, which aroused religious sentiment.
The custom of eating hot cross buns on Good Friday reverts to Tudor times in England when a law forbade the sale of these and could only be eaten on Good Friday, over the Christmas period and during burials. The cross on the buns was symbolic of the cross on which Jesus died.
It is thought that the word bun originated from the Greek word "Boun" a circular bread, drizzled with honey and offered to the gods.
These "Bouns" would accompany sailors on their voyages to prevent being ship wrecked so there was much ritual attached.
Today's buns are far tastier, having the inclusion of spices like clove and cinnamon plus raisins and currents.
In modern times one item that seems to have been relegated to old trunks or dusty attics and worth a mention is the "Easter bonnet".
At the end of the great depression a new hat was a luxury , being adorned with ribbons and wreaths of flowers. The Easter parade in New York City was a festive walk-about having an almost carnival atmosphere.
Should the readers have young children at home, they will be only too aware of the hive of activity prevailing on Easter Sunday with the excitement of finding the hidden Easter eggs and other activities like outings and get-togethers with extended family.
In order to relax at the end of the day a suggested no-nonsense, easy to prepare meal follows, namely :
An Easter Sunday supper
This will feature cheese, meats, chicken, ham and eggs and something sweet to end the meal.
A suggested menu;
1) stuffed boiled eggs – no recipe needed here !
2) a selection of good quality meats from a delicatessen
3) an easy home-made quiche
4) waffles or crepes [Woolworths have a pack of 20 pancakes, which are ideally more like crepes] or a choice of pastries for dessert
To assemble the quiche chop finely chop up 1 packet of bacon [or buy bacon bits, all ready to go].
Fry the bacon till crisp, then whisk together 4 eggs and 100ml milk then add the bacon. To this add 1 cup of strong cheddar cheese and combine all ingredients well.
Line an ovenproof dish [about 3 or 4 centimetres in height] with baking parchment and press into the 4 corners. Pour the mixture into the dish and bake for about 35 minutes till set. Place in the warming drawer till ready to serve.
The table layout:
With a selection of about 3 cheeses create a cheese board with savoury biscuits alongside.
Fill 1 or 2 bread baskets with fresh rolls and / or croissants.
Place lettuce leaves on onto a shallow dish or tray, then arrange the cold meats onto this and garnish with pineapple slices and whole red plums.
Just before serving turn out the quiche onto a plate and cut into slices or squares.
Having a bowl of salad of your choice on the table is a healthy additive.
Desserts have not been forgotten. If the crepes are to be used these could be folded into halves, drizzled with honey or syrup and finished off with a "dollop" of vanilla ice cream. Because young people always love to get involved, the suggestion below needs little supervision!
Chocolate nests with eggs:
Using a muffin pan that creates 12, line each hollow with paper cases [as for fairy cakes]
225 grams of plain milk chocolate
2 tablespoons of golden syrup
50 grams of butter
75 grams of rice crispies
Miniature Easter eggs
In a double boiler melt chocolate, syrup and butter and stir till smooth
Remove from heat and add the cereal – mix well to coat
Allow to cool slightly
Divide the mixture into the cases and with a spoon press a small hollow into the centre of each.
Press 2-3 miniature eggs into the " nests"
Place in the fridge for an hour to set then turn out of the cases onto a platter.
Add to the table setting with some normal Easter eggs placed between the desserts [if not already devoured by the evening!!]
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The MATSIMELA TEAM would like to wish our valued clients a happy and safe Easter and thank you for your continued support!