Belfast Telegraph

Since when do eggs come from bunnies?

By Frances Burscough

There’s been an almighty row erupting this week and everyone who’s anyone seems to be in on the cross-community slanging match, from politicians and religious leaders to charitable organisations and multi-national corporations. The Church of England, The National Trust, the Prime Minister, The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Archbishop of York, Tesco, Morrisons, Cadbury to name but a few, have all been taking sides in this furious heated debate.

But before you ask; no, it’s not about the bombing of Syria, the prospect of a Third World War nor any of the countless humanitarian disasters that are ongoing across the developing world. It’s about...err...wait for it....chocolate Easter Eggs. Or, more appropriately, chocolate eggs.

Because it’s the fact that some manufacturers have dropped the word Easter from their packaging that the chocolate egg industry has gone into meltdown, along with most of our Holier-Than-Thou representatives.

Cadbury is being accused of pandering to other faiths for not just omitting the word from their eggs but using Halal chocolate in the process. The Anglican Archbishops are up in arms that the National Trust is organising egg hunts without a single mention of the Christian festival.

Tesco is being accused of ignoring the event to avoid offending non-Christians and the debate has even reached parliament with Teresa May responding angrily to the row in the House of Commons with a lengthy polemic.

The great fear appears to be that our Christian heritage is under threat in favour of political correctness. Since it all started last week, social media has of course gone into overdrive with all sorts of campaigns being organised to boycott or petition this, that or the other in the cause of religious freedom.

Meanwhile, no-one has even bothered to speak to the Easter Bunnies to see what they think. 

Yes, as you can probably tell, I’m finding the whole thing pretty ridiculous. In fact, I’d like to use this opportunity to point out a few facts about Easter eggs that nobody seems to have mentioned yet in the whole debate.

The egg is actually a Pagan symbol for fertility (obvious, if you think about it) and is specifically associated with the Pagan festival of Ostara celebrating the beginning of spring. Eggs have been a symbol of fertility in cults and pagan rituals around the world for thousands of years, far pre-dating Christianity.

In fact the holiday of Easter itself derives its name from the fertility Goddess Eostre. She is typically depicted as a young woman surrounded by dazzling morning light, by budding trees and flowers, and new-born creatures, illustrating her association with dawn and the coming of light in the spring season.

Eggs, nests, bunnies, chicks, daffodils...none of these have got anything to do with the Christian festival of Easter which remembers the betrayal and execution of Jesus and his resurrection three days later. In fact all of these symbols were adopted and incorporated into the celebration of Easter simply because of the close proximity of the two events which over time merged into one — just like Christmas and Yule.

There is no mention of chocolate eggs in the New Testament. Easter Bunnies are nothing to do with the Christian faith.

As for the tradition of rabbits laying eggs and then hiding them for children to find...well your guess is as good as mine where that came from but I doubt it’s Biblical. It’s certainly not scientific.

So instead of inventing something nonsensical to get het-up and indignant about in the name of Christianity, why don’t our leaders put their efforts into the real issues of the day? 

And now after my Pascal address, I’m off to scoff my Lindor egg, which I’ve been drooling over for a week and managed to resist until now.

Happy Easter and Ostara Blessings to you all.

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