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Easter is a Christian holiday that commemorates the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus in ca. 30. Gaius Plinius Secundus, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus, Lucius Flavius Philostratus, Claudius Aelianus, and other Roman scholars wrongly believed the hare was a hermaphrodite, and the idea that it could reproduce without loss of virginity led to an association with Jesus' mother Mary, and hares frequently occurred in northern European art depicting Mary and her infant son, which proabably influenced the motif of three hares, each sharing an ear with another hare, chasing each other in a circle. It was probably connected with the Trinity (God in his three forms of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) as well as symbolic or mystical associations with fertility and the lunar cycle. Since hares give birth to large litters in early spring, when birds laid eggs, they became symbols of fertility. By 1682, as noted by Georg Franck von Franckenau, who at various times served as personal physician to the margrave of Baden, the duke of Württemberg, the archbishop of Trier, and king Christian V of Danmark, the hare was associated with giving colored eggs to good children at Easter. In the 16th century Martin Luther, the leader of the Protestant Reformation in Germany, had Easter egg hunts in which the men hid the eggs for the women and children to find; this was related to the hunt for Jesus in the tomb and the joy of the women who reached it first and discovered he was no longer there. Generally, the eggs would be placed with varying degree of concealment, to accommodate children of varying ages and development levels, but it was also customary to add extra obstacles to the game by placing them into hard-to reach places among nettles or thorns. The German Lutherans may have retained the old Orthodox custom of abstaining from eggs during Lent (the six weeks of prayer, penance, and self-denial designed to prepare Christians for the sacrifice of Jesus; Shrove Tuesday, or Mardi Gras ["Fat Tuesday"], the last day before Lent, marked the last consumption of eggs and dairy products until Easter); to keep new eggs from going to waste they were boiled or roasted, and then, to celebrate the ending of the fast, they would be decorated; even now they are dyed red (symbolizing the blood of Jesus) or green (the new foliage of springtime). In addition, boiling some flowers with the eggs with change the eggs' color. In the 18th century German Protestants took the "Osterhase" (Easter bunny) lore to the US. However, there were also non-Christian traditions that may have influenced the Germans. Decorated, engraved ostrich eggs used in spring rituals have been found in Africa which are 60,000 years old. Decorated ostrich eggs and gold and silver representations of them were placed in Sumerian and Egyptian graves 5,000 years ago; they were associated with death, rebirth, and kingship. Pysanky, the Ukrainian art of decorating eggs for Easter, evolved from pre-Christian practices, just as Buddhist three-hares motifs first appeared in 6th or 7th-century Sui cave temples in China and apparently represented peace and tranquility. Based on a passage by the 8th-century monk Bǣda (the "Venerable Bede"), Jacob Grimm believed that the hare was sacred to Ēostre, a Saxon goddess of spring. In 1990 Sarah Ben Breathnach claimed (apparently without any attestation) that Eostre's favorite animal was a large handsome bird, which in a fit of anger she turned into a hare; in 2002 Jean-Andrew Dickmann published a variant account in which the transformation was an act of mercy.
It's not the media, Donal. It's called diversity. We don't all celebrate Christmas. There are people of many faiths celebrating holidays at the same time. For instance, this past year the first night of Hanukkah was the same night as Christmas Eve, and how should one have greeted people that day? Maybe everyone should have picked "Happy Hanukkah" instead. Why not? Could be a holiday for a bunch of other religions on that day for all we know too. Why assume everyone does or more importantly SHOULD be celebrating Christmas and not some other holiday or any holiday for that matter? You would get how that feels if someone greeted you with "Eid Mubarak" or "Chag Sameach" now wouldn't you? It would be odd, right? Shoe on the other foot, my friend. This is NOT a country of just one faith.
No argument at all with any aspect of your comment, Anonymous. I have been saying and recognizing the holidays of Judaism and Islam for decades, thanks to friends and co-workers of those faiths. But the media will mention Hanukkah and Ramadan by name. But not so much Christmas. Happy Holidays is the accepted euphemism for Christmas. And the Bunny has taken over Easter but no Passover is still Passover. I am the last person of my faith, Roman Catholicism, to think or suggest the holy days of other religion should be ignored or renamed. But Christmas and Easter have names as do Hanukkah, Ramadan and Passover. The connection between the Old and New Testaments are profound and we papists depend on the Old Testament as the foundation for New Testament. Not that much connection with Islam in the Allah is different that the triune God Christians recognize as Three Persons in One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But you know all of that, I am sure, or you would not have bothered to make your comment.
The media won't mention Christmas? You must be kidding. Christmas is everywhere, my friend. You can't escape it, television, advertisements, practically every store you walk into. If you have an issue with the Christ being taken out of Christmas that would make more sense, but that's not a media issue; that's a dying faith. I think it's ironic that you now feel like the victim, as a practicing Christian simply becasue after years of Christianity being shoved down our throats we are finally having our faiths acknowledged too. All that said, peace be with you. Happy Easter!
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