Easter Memories: Why Eggs?
Almost 167 million people in this country are getting ready to celebrate a holiday this week. For the majority, it will begin with Good Friday, followed two days later by the glory of Easter Sunday. New clothes are being bought to wear on Easter, and the ladies might even be eying a Fasinator hat, the bonnet made popular by England's Kate Middleton.
No doubt there's a lot of eggs being boiled, PAAS kits have been bought and the smell of vinegar is in the air. Or maybe you've decided to do the natural thing this year and are soaking the eggs in onions or tea or a mash of blueberries to get just that special tint for the Easter egg hunt.
I'm getting ready to celebrate my holiday also this week. And I'm boiling lots of eggs for the Passover Seder on Friday night. Seder, quite literally, means order and is a meal in which symbolic food is served, and a story is read from a book called the Haggadah. It's a tale of how the Jews found freedom and hope after escaping slavery in Egypt. It's a fun meal and children are encouraged to participate.
Matzo is the food most often associated with this Jewish holiday. It is an unleavened cracker that represents the bread the Jews took with them for ancient Egypt because with Pharaoh beating on their door they didn't have time to let the dough rise.
But why eggs for both Christians and Jews? Many Christians consider eggs to be the seed of life and so they are symbolic of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Those of the Jewish faith look upon the egg as a symbol of new life in their freedom from Egyptian slavery.
My most memorable Seder contained neither Matzo nor egg. It was in the south of France while visiting a Catholic family. They served us pork roast, encased in a flaky crust that had risen to perfection. But the warmth of their hearts was more important than the food that was set on the table. They were welcoming us as strangers in a strange land, repeating a message that Moses brought with him from Egypt for all people.
You see, whether Jewish or Christian, it's not about symbols. Yes, it's fun to watch the kiddies run around the yard finding chocolate rabbits and colored eggs in their Easter finery. Jewish families enjoy listening to their children answer the questions at the Seder and laugh when the kiddies scramble for the piece of Matzo that has been hidden during the meal, knowing they'll receive a prize for it.
But the important thing is what's in your heart. How you believe when the door is shut and the lights are out. And most important it's about hope, hope for the future, hope for all our children.
2008-2012 Karen Jordan