We were surprised, when we started researching this article, just how many different Easter traditions there were. Interestingly enough, throughout the world, the most popular Easter symbol is the lamb. Centuries ago, it was lucky to meet and touch a lamb, particularly in the spring. Popular superstition thought that the devil, who cleverly could take on the form of most animals, couldn’t appear as a lamb because of its religious connection.
WHAT’S FOR DINNER?
The tradition of eating lamb on Easter has its roots in early Passover observances before the birth of Christianity. Accustomed to eating roast lamb on Passover, Jews who converted to Christianity continued the tradition at Easter.
Later, one of the tenth century popes, adopted roasting an entire lamb for the Pope’s Easter Dinner. Years later, it was modified to roast only parts of the lamb.
It’s worth noting, that lamb would have been one of the first fresh meats available after a long winter with no other livestock to slaughter.
Many countries continue to place a special emphasis on lamb: • In Greece, most everyone roasts a whole lamb on a “Souvla”, a large spit. • In France, the racks of lamb are roasted for the main meal followed by special Easter cakes. • In Australia, it was a common practice to eat lamb every Sunday for a hot lunch after church. It was considered a recognition of the country’s plentiful sheep supplies – and an extension of Easter into everyday life.
AND THE EGGS?
Eggs have been decorated and exchanged as gifts as early as 5000 BC. In China, children have received red eggs on their birthdays for thousands of years.
Central Europeans have a very long history of decorating Easter eggs. The exquisitely decorated Russian Faberge eggs or the Ukrainian pysanky are well known and loved.
AND THE CHOCOLATE?
The custom of giving candy and chocolate for Easter first appeared in the Victorian age. New technology, developed by Cadbury allowed manufacturers to create hollow sculptures made of chocolate, instead of painstakingly applying layer after layer of chocolate to individual molds as they had before.
This meant that higher-quality candies were available for a cheaper price, and the market quickly boomed. In fact, by 1893 Cadbury offered 19 different product lines for the Easter market.
And that’s just a few of the great Easter traditions. However, you spend the holiday weekend, our family at Valensbrae Farm wishes you a very Happy Easter!
Valensbrae Farm – Pasture-raised Ontario lamb. Seasonal farm gate sales of lamb cuts. In addition to Dorset & Shetland sheep, Valensbrae Farm has pot-bellied pigs, Red Sexlinks layers, honey bees and two llamas Ben & Jerry. A family-run operation led by Ted Stark.
1527 Regional Road 97 | Puslinch | 905-659-7253 | [email protected]