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Yup. Easter is over. It was over a week ago. Or so we were led to believe. Turns out, however, there is a season called Eastertide which has just begun. The Wikipedia tells us that Roman Catholics and Anglicans used to make a point of celebrating the nine-week period after Easter, some even giving a special name to the Sunday after Easter (the day this blogpost was posted) as "Low Sunday."
OK. So what? Well, it has to do with eggs. It doesn't take rocket science to figure out that the egg is an ancient symbol of fertility. But that's not all it is. Slice a hard-boiled egg in half, play the opening of Richard Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra, and what do you have? A magnificent sunrise, that's what. I addressed the importance of the sun, solar energy if you will, in my first blogpost on the artist Robert Bechtle. We Northern Californians were unseasonably deprived of sunshine for an extra six weeks this year when the gods punished us for gods-know-what by inflicting Seattle weather upon us. But then, the day after Easter, the sun came out. It was finally spring, as we Northern Californians know it. (Today, however, as befitting a Low Sunday, the skies have clouded up, and rain is predicted.)
The egg as a solar symbol, very well and good, but what else? For starters, 20th-century physics postulated a theory that the universe expanded out of a huge "egg" of condensed matter and energy, and will eventually collapse back into a similar entity in what has been called the "Big Crunch." This theory was anticipated in Vedic scripture well over 2,500 years ago, in what was called the Brahmanda, which translates as (surprised?) : "cosmic egg." A scripture known as the Brahmanda Purana covers the subject (thoroughly, one would hope), in 12,000 verses. If you want an English translation, click here. But what about colored eggs and the Easter Bunny? After all, it's still Eastertide. It seems that the holiday might have been named in English and German after an Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre/Ostara. It has not been confirmed whether such a goddess was ever worshiped, and a legend that she turned a wounded hare into a healthy egg-laying bird turns out not to be an ancient myth, but a children's story by contemporary author Sarah Ban Breathnach. The female hormone estrogen is said to have been named after Eostre, but the pundits say it was really derived from the Greco-Roman word for "gadfly". Go figure. Easter, in the Latin countries, is named (Pasqua, Pascua, Pâques) after the Jewish Passover festival, during which eggs are not decorated (here is the exception which proves the rule), but eaten, hardboiled, in "tearful" salted water with chopped onion.
Boy, I sure packed a lot of stuff into three paragraphs, didn't I? But that's what eggs are all about: packing a lot, maybe the whole universe, into a small package.Permanent Link to This Entry | | Technorati Tags: Cosmos Pasqua Pâques Pascua Passover blog comments powered by Disqus Comments (View)
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