Sunday, 29 March 2015

Easter means Hares not Bunnies

Easter is almost upon us and the shops are filling with chocolate eggs and bunnies. But if you really want to be Easter-authentic then I propose you celebrate Easter by toasting your beloved with a pint of Haresfoot ale rather than a chocolate bunny.

Easter is thought to be German or possibly even Babylonian in origin. Most believe that Easter gets its name from the old English Ēastre or Ēostre, the Teutonic cum Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring (see picture), for whom a festival was held in her honour every year at the vernal equinox. But some believe that Easter is derived from Ishtar, the Babylonian goddess of spring, and a homophone of Easter.

As for the Easter Bunny, well the Romans believed that all life comes from an egg and they considered hares to be the symbol of fertility, as they are prolific breeders. So, rightly or wrongly, Roman children hunted for hare eggs in the grass. Another theory is that because eggs were not eaten during Lent they were decorated, rather than wasted, and given as presents to mark the end of Lent. In the 1500s German Lutherans portrayed the Easter Hare as a judge, evaluating whether children were good and would receive a painted egg gift. Chocolate Easter eggs and bunnies were not introduced until the early 19th century, with France and Germany taking the lead in this confectionary assault. I can only assume that the Easter chick was a later misunderstanding of the origins of those hare eggs.

You might think I am splitting “hares” but it is clear that hares, not bunnies, are the true barer of Easter eggs. And why not make that first post-lent pint a Haresfoot. The brewery shop is open Good Friday and Easter Saturday for your hare related gifts (gift boxes, t-shirts and cards).

1 comment: