Today we participated in an Easter celebration with friends from a variety of religious backgrounds (Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, Atheist). It was a perfect day: sunshine, birds chirping, grass greening, and the leisure to allow the morning to unfold into the afternoon.
Our hostess had hidden 10 dozen colored eggs in her gardens and we all wandered off, basket in hand, to find the pagan symbol of fertility. She had told us that there was one very special egg, a golden one, more difficult to find than all the others. Whoever found the golden egg would win a prize. We wandered along the fence, the stream, trudged through the flower beds with blooming daffodils, looked into bushes and trees and came up with loads of eggs (and one prayer flag):
But the best part was being outside, walking on green grass, basking in the sunshine we all had been missing this winter. The dog was helping us look, too, and ended up eating two eggs in the process.
In the very end, with gentle directional prodding from the hostess, the youngest among us found the golden egg:
Hunting easter eggs makes you hungry, so while some peeled a large amount of the gathered (hard-boiled) eggs for egg salad, others got busy in the kitchen putting the final touches on all the food that had been brought:
muffins, asparagus-egg casserole, fresh lettuce greens, pancakes, sausage, cheese… it was a big feast when we finally sat down around the festive table.
Notice the chocolate bunnies, another ancient symbol of fertility.
The Christian celebration of Easter (the resurrection of the crucified Christ) has somehow incorporated the fertility symbols of the Assyrian goddess Ishtar (eggs and rabbits); probably a result of the blending of earlier pagan spring celebrations with the spreading Christian religion.
For more information about the origin of Easter symbols, you may want to read this fascinating article.
On the way home, we saw another Easter symbol, peacefully grazing in the pasture: