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The Easter holiday sometimes occurs in March but this year it falls on April first, which is also known as April Fool Day.

Easter eggs (also called Paschal eggs) are decorated eggs often used as gifts or decorations on the occasion of Easter or more generally as part of a springtime celebration. Though Easter eggs are common during the season of Eastertide, the egg being symbolic of spring is much older than the religious holiday.

Dyed and painted chicken eggs are the oldest traditional form and are still done today, but they compete with the commercial chocolate eggs wrapped in colored foil and the plastic eggs that people fill with candy, coins, lottery tickets and small gifts.

As a symbol of fertility and rebirth, Christianity adopted them as part of the celebration of Eastertide. I have read that the egg was sometimes said to symbolize the empty tomb from which Jesus resurrected, and that staining eggs red to represent the blood of Christ has been proposed. The custom of the Easter egg can be traced to early Christians of Mesopotamia, and from there it spread into Russia and Siberia through the Orthodox Churches, and later into Europe through the Catholic and Protestant Churches.

Easter eggs are sometimes called Paschal eggs as Easter can be called Pascha (Greek, Latin) or Resurrection Sunday.

A very different kind of “Easter egg” of a modern and technology-related sort is an intentional inside joke, hidden message, image or secret feature of a work. These Easter eggs are found in a computer programs, video games and sometimes in DVD menu screens. The term suggests the traditional Easter egg hunt with the hope of getting a prize when you are successful.

This usage was coined to describe a hidden message marketing device in the Atari video game “Adventure ” that led players on a hunt to find further hidden messages in later games.

In the novel Ready Player One, the plot involves several Easter eggs discovered in video games.  The novel is now a Steven Spielberg film that opened yesterday.

Ukrainian Easter eggs

 

Today is the Christian holiday of Easter Sunday. It marks Jesus’ resurrection from the dead three days after his crucifixion. The day it is celebrated is a floating holiday in the calendar year. It is based on the cycles of the moon.

Jesus was said to have risen from the dead on the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring. That makes the day vary from March 22 – April 25.

robin eggsI have written before about the word “Easter” and its religious and cultural associations. It certainly has earlier pagan traditions. Anglo Saxons worshiped Eostre, the goddess of springtime and the return of the sun after the long winter.

According to legend, Eostre once saved a bird whose wings had frozen during the winter by turning it into a rabbit. Because the rabbit had once been a bird, it could still lay eggs, and that rabbit became our Easter Bunny. Eggs were a symbol of fertility in part because they used to be so scarce during the winter.

19dd6-mandy_walden-lunar_hareThe pre-Christian Saxons celebrated Eostre’s feast day on the Vernal Equinox in March. Her special animal was the spring hare (rabbit) and this association with eggs and hares was co-opted into the Christian holiday of Easter.

Coloring and painting eggs is something the ancient Persians painted did for Nowrooz, their New Year celebration, which falls on the Spring equinox. There are images on the walls of Persepolis showing people carrying eggs for Nowrooz to the king. At the Jewish Passover Seder, a hard-boiled egg dipped in salt water symbolizes the Passover sacrifice offered at the Temple in Jerusalem.

 

pink_easter_egg

The April 2015 Full Moon occurs on the 4th at 12:05 UTC. It comes the day before Easter this year.

The Egg Moon is the name often given to the Full Moon before Easter, so this next Full Moon barely qualifies. That name is connected to the longer days encouraging hens to lay more eggs. That idea doesn’t hold true for the more common factory farms that artificially create longer days all year. But we also associate this time of spring with wild birds creating nest for their eggs. You may have noticed birds investigating places around your home for nesting spots and gathering materials. I have been discouraging sparrows from building nests in my retractable awning the past two weeks.

mosspinks

The April full moon is also called the Full Pink Moon from the moss pink (AKA wild ground phlox, mountain pinks or wild blue phlox), which is one of the common early flowers of the spring. Though gardeners plant it, it is also a spring wildflower. This is a slightly fragrant, perennial, five-petaled flower which blooms profusely and grows like a ground cover in woodland shade. In gardens, it is often used as an underplanting for larger, summer blooming plants. The plant can be colored rose, mauve, blue, white, or pink in late spring to early summer.

This year the Full Moon also coincides with a total lunar eclipse which will be visible in Asia, Australia, Pacific and the Americas.

There are other seasonal names for this Full Moon.  The Full Sprouting Grass Moon, Seed Moon and New World colonists’ Planter’s Moon all come from the season.

You can celebrate the Egg Moon and the Pink Moon by dying hard-boiled some eggs pink. My grandmother only made pink eggs (using beet juice) and brownish-yellow eggs (using onion skins). No Easter egg kits for her.

Coloring and painting eggs is something the ancient Persians painted did for Nowrooz, their New Year celebration, which falls on the Spring equinox. There are images on the walls of Persepolis showing people carrying eggs for Nowrooz to the king.

At the Jewish Passover Seder, a hard-boiled egg dipped in salt water symbolizes the Passover sacrifice offered at the Temple in Jerusalem.

The pre-Christian Saxons celebrated the spring goddess called Eostre’s feast day on the Vernal Equinox in March. Her special animal was the spring hare (rabbit) and Eostre’s association with eggs and hares was incorporated into the Christian holiday of Easter.

 

 

This week is technically the last frost date for Paradelle, but the weather has been rather cold. We had a bit of snow on Monday and below freezing for a few nights.

Nevertheless,  this weekend will be spent in the garden.  I find turning the soil and raking it smooth and even to be very relaxing. One of my sons will be home for Easter and he told me he wants to work in the vegetable garden, as we did when he was a child.

The weekend weather will be dry here and at least 60 degrees, but will drop back down to below 40 at night.

The weather was not kind on this month’s full moon on the 15th. But it was an exciting full moon because we had a lunar eclipse that gave us a Blood Moon.  Colonists in the New World often called the April moon the Planter’s Moon and further south, it is planting time.

Some years, like 2014, we can also call the April moon the Egg Moon. The name came from several places but eggs have long been symbolic of spring, regeneration, rebirth and are associated with some religious holidays of this time, such as Easter.

Domesticated hens do begin laying more eggs with longer days and many wild bird species also lay their eggs now.

Romanian decorated eggs

If you think painting eggs for celebrations is a recent tradition, you are wrong. The ancient Persians painted eggs for Nowrooz, their New Year celebration, which falls on the Spring equinox. Sculptures on the walls of Persepolis show people carrying eggs for Nowrooz to the king.

At the Jewish Passover Seder, a hard-boiled egg dipped in salt water symbolizes the Passover sacrifice offered at the Temple in Jerusalem.

The pre-Christian Saxons had a spring goddess called Eostre, whose feast was held on the Vernal Equinox, around 21 March.

Eostre’s special animal was the spring hare (rabbit), so it is believed that Eostre’s association with eggs and hares, combined with the rebirth of the land in spring was adapted for the Christian holiday of Easter.

The melting snow, spring rains and warmer days, finds many of us preparing for planting, if it’s not warm enough to actually plant.

If you are a follower of farming and moon folklore, then you know that you should plant root crops during the waning moon (after the full moon and until the new moon) and plant your above-ground crops during the waxing moon (as the moon thickens, like the wax drippings of a candle) from the new moon until the next full moon.

This unscientific practice was based on the belief that the moon’s magnetic force pulls everything that contains water.  It pulls the ocean. Some says it tugs at our blood. And the folklore says it pulls at the water in plants and seeds.

Green leafy plants will seek the moon during its waxing phase. Root crops growing below the ground will push their energy down, away from the moon, during its waning phase.

I did no planting so far this month. I will be waiting for the New Moon on the 29th of April and get most of my seeds and plants in by the next Full Moon on the 14th.

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