~★~♥~♥~★~ El Morno! ♥~★~★~♥ ~
March 31, 2013
★~ Today’s Quote: The secret to living the life of your dreams is to start living the life of your dreams today, in every little way you possible can.” ~ Mike Dooley
★~Rabbit! Rabbit! On Easter Eve!
Today is the last day of the month and you know what that means don’t you? It’s time to prepare for the first of the month and all that can be yours by simple saying ”rabbit, rabbit!” The first words out of your mouth on the first day of April must be “rabbit, rabbit.”
Easter is a Christian holiday celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, many Easter traditions that we celebrate today descend from an old pagan festival—a holiday known as “Ostara” during the Spring Equinox. The name Eastre has also been known as Oestre or Ostara, which is now the most common usage. Eastre was a goddess of spring.
Pagans celebrate Ostara during the vernal or spring equinox. This date always falls between March 19th and the 22nd. Because of its proximity to Easter, some believe that the festival of Ostara is synonymous with rebirth and rejuvenation. The awakening of plant life, the birth of baby animals and the revival of the earth after a long winter fuel the passion behind the Ostara festival. The Eastre animal talisman was a rabbit, which represented fertility as did the eggs that were decorated and offered as gifts to bring blessings of prosperity for the coming year.
★~ Oranges and Lemon Day:
At St. Clement Dane’s Church in London, children celebrate this festival which takes it name from the old nursery rhyme:
Oranges and lemons
Say the bells of St Clement’s
You owe me five farthings
Say the bells of St Martin’s
When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey
When I grow rich
Say the bells of Shoreditch
When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney
I’m sure I don’t know
Says the great bell at Bow
Here comes a candle to light you to bed
Here comes a chopper to chop off your head
Chop chop chop chop the last man’s head!
The church, founded by the Danish merchants, is located on the banks of the River Thames, and as the story goes, in the old days, the river at London was wider than it is now and barges carrying oranges and lemons landed just below the churchyard of St. Clements Dane, and, as each ship arrived, the bells of the old church would ring. On the last day of March, local primary school children gather at the church to attend a service. They recite the famous nursery ‘ rhyme and, on occasions, play the tune on hand bells. At the end of the service, the children are presented with an orange and a lemon from a table outside the church. It seems like a wonderful tradition if you leave off the “chop of your head part….”
★~ National Clams on the Half Shell Day:
Are you feeling bold today? In a “why not?” sort of mood? Well then, eat clams the way sharks and squid do — raw and in their shell. Not feeling that bold? Well, feel free to have your clams fried, baked, or boiled. You can also add them to chowder or pasta!
★~ Today in History:
♥~ 1889 – The Eiffel Tower opened in Gay Paree. A beautiful sight, no? Well, not so to writers, Guy deMaupassant and Alexandre Dumas who condemned the Eiffel Tower as a “horrid nightmare.” The Eiffel Tower was named after its designer, architect, Alexandre Gustave Eiffel who built the structure for the Paris Exhibition of 1889.
♥~ 1951- There’s an old joke that goes like this: A bunch of scientists created a huge machine capable of complex calculations and called it UNIVAC. Eager to test their invention, they asked it, “Is there a God?” The vacuum tubes hummed and the tape spools spun for several minutes. Finally, the machine spit out a little card, on which was written, “THERE IS NOW.” On this day in 1951, the Remington Rand Corporation signed a contract to deliver the first UNIVAC computer to the U.S. Census Bureau. UNIVAC I (which stands for Universal Automatic Computer) took up 350 square feet of floor space — about the size of a one-car garage — and was the first American commercial computer.
♥~ 1954-Leica introduced a revolutionary new 35-millimeter camera with dialed shutter speeds, interchangeable lenses, and a film-winding lever.
♥~ 1985 –“The Love Boat” celebrated its 200th TV episode by honoring its 1,000th guest star, Lana Turner.
♥~ 1984 – Kenny Loggins started a three week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Footloose’, the theme from the film with the same name, a No.6 hit in the UK.
♥~ 1811- Robert Bunsen, German Scientist who helped develop the Bunsen burner. You know, that thing that sat on the shelf in your chemistry class that you always wanted to use in cool experiments requiring fire, and, at its hottest setting, produces an impressive roaring blue flame but instead you spent all your time learning about the periodic table.
♥~ 1928 – Gordie Howe, Hockey Hall of Famer
♥~ 1934 – Richard Chamberlain, Actor, Dr. Kildare, The Thorn Birds; Centennial, Shogun, The Towering Inferno, Julius Caesar
♥~ 1934 –Shirley Jones, Actress (“The Partridge Family”),
♥~ 1943 – Christopher Walken, Actor
♥~ 1945 – Gabe (Gabriel) Kaplan, Actor, comedian (“Welcome Back Kotter”)
♥~ 1948 – Rhea Perlman, Actress (“Cheers”)
♥~ 1950 –Ed Marinaro, Actor (“Hill Street Blues”)
♥~ 1955 – Angus Young musician: guitar: group: AC/DC:
♥~ 1985 – Jessica Szohr, Actress (“Gossip Girl”)
★~ Did You Know: American’s say Easter Bunny. Ozzie’s say Easter Bilby
Spring is the season of rebirth and renewal. Plants return to life after winter dormancy and many animals mate and procreate. Many pagan cultures held spring festivals to celebrate this renewal of life and promote fertility. One of these festivals was in honor of Eostre or Eastre, the goddess of dawn, spring and fertility near and dear to the hearts of the pagans in Northern Europe. Eostre was closely linked to the hare and the egg, both symbols of fertility.
As Christianity spread, it was common for missionaries to practice some good salesmanship by placing pagan ideas and rituals within the context of the Christian faith and turning pagan festivals into Christian holidays. The Eostre festival occurred around the same time as the Christians’ celebration of Christ’s resurrection, so the two celebrations became one, and with the kind of blending that was going on among the cultures, it would seem only natural that the pagans would bring the hare and egg images with them into their new faith (the hare later became the more common rabbit).
The pagans hung on to the rabbit and eventually it became a part of Christian celebration. We don’t know exactly when, but it’s first mentioned in German writings from the 1600s. The Germans converted the pagan rabbit image into Oschter Haws, a rabbit that was believed to lay a nest of colored eggs as gifts for good children. (A poll of my Twitter followers reveals that 81% of the people who replied believe the Easter Bunny to be male, based mostly on depictions where it’s wearing a bowtie. The male pregnancy and egg-laying mammal aspects are either side effects of trying to lump the rabbit and egg symbols together, or rabbits were just more awesome back then.)
Oschter Haws came to America with Pennsylvania Dutch settlers in the 1700s, and evolved into the Easter Bunny as it became entrenched in American culture. Over time the bunny started bringing chocolate and toys in addition to eggs (the chocolate rabbit began with the Germans, too, when they started making Oschter Haws pastries in the 1800s).
The Easter Bunny also went with European settlers to Australia, as did actual bunnies, since there were no indigenous rabbits in Oz. These rabbits, fertile as they are, got a little out of control, so the Aussies regard them as serious pests. The destruction they’ve caused to habitats is responsible for the major decline of some native animals and causes millions of dollars worth of damage to crops. Using an invasive species as a symbol for a religious holiday wasn’t the most diplomatic if ideas, so Australia began pushing the Easter Bilby, an endangered marsupial that kind of looks like a bunny if you squint.
While running errands yesterday, Cole talked me into buying him lox and bagels for breakfast this morno: “After all, Mom, it’s not just Easter; some people are celebrating Passover.” Not us, but some people, so I bought the lox; and while were in the fish store, we spotted king crab legs and decided we would rather have crab than ham for Easter dinner, served alongside cold slaw and a baked potato. I love ham, but I am really looking forward to this dinner. What do you have for Easter dinner?
The dying of our Easter eggs this year is worthy of a whole other blog post! The Easter Bunny hides the eggs and Cole’s Easter basket (hiding the basket is a tradition from Joe’s family), and Cole looks for both. Either the Bunny is exceptionally good at hiding the eggs or my kid fails Easter egg hunting because we have been known to find an egg at Christmas. (You would think that one of my pups would have found it or it would have smelled, but it just lived quietly tucked to the side of the windowsill. Odd.) These days, I only leave a dozen eggs out for the Bunny to hide, and until they have all been hunted down and returned to the egg cartoon, we don’t leave for breakfast.
I will be back later with a very special Easter Greeting from Rascal and day 5 of the Peep-a-thon. In the meantime, don’t forget to check out tweekend Odds and Ends and comment to win a cool product!
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