Air Date: Week of March 22, 1996
Facts about the vernal equinox and Easter, of eggs and bunnies.
CURWOOD: Which came first, Easter or the egg? What do rabbits have to do with it anyway? It's all descended from an ancient tradition of celebrations in honor of the arrival of Spring which we mark on the vernal equinox. That's the day when the sun is directly above the equator and the night and day are the same length. Today of course Christians celebrate the resurrection close to this time of year while Jews observe Passover. One of the ancient celebrations, by tribes in northern and central Europe, honored the goddess of Spring, Eostre. Her name is believed to be based on the word East, the direction of sunrise. And in turn may be the basis for our word Easter. As part of the celebration, people offered Eostre cakes similar to hot cross buns. The hare, a larger relative of the rabbit, was sacred to the goddess, and from that we get the Easter Bunny. Also, as part of the festival, people would place eggs, a symbol of fertility, in grass nests. Today we call them Easter baskets. And for this week that's the Living on Earth almanac.
Living on Earth wants to hear from you!
P.O. Box 990007
Boston, MA, USA 02199
Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.
Sailors For The Sea: Be the change you want to sea.
Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live. Listen to the race to 9 billion
The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.
Energy Foundation: Serving the public interest by helping to build a strong, clean energy economy.
Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary wildlife photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.
Buy a signed copy of Mark Seth Lender's book Smeagull the Seagull & support Living on Earth