Yes, its the Easter season again.  A joyous religious celebration, and also a time of Easter eggs, and the Easter Bunny. Many of the traditions of Easter have their origins in ancient spring celebrations, and here we take a brief look at those traditions, with an emphasis on Easter foods for a low carb diet.

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History of Easter
Many of the traditions of Easter have their origins in ancient spring celebrations.  Eostre was the Saxon Goddess of dawn, spring, and new beginnings. Her symbols included the rabbit, which she empowered to lay eggs, once a year, at the beginning of spring. The English Easter and German Ostern are named after the spring festival held in her honor, which celebrated the renewal of life after the long dark winter. 

Date of Easter 2004 - 2010
Originally, Easter was celebrated at the time of the Jewish Passover.  Over the years, the Christian church developed its own method of calculating Easter.  When the calendar was reformed, the Western churches based their Easter dates on the new Gregorian calendar, while the Eastern churches continued to base their dates on the old, Julian calendar.  The table below gives the date of the first full moon after the March Equinox, and the dates of  the Jewish Passover and Eastern and Western Easter for the years 2004 - 2010. 

Easter Eggs
Most ancient cultures saw eggs as an emblem of life, and many had myths about the universe being born out of a giant egg.  Eggs were dyed and eaten in Spring festivals in ancient times over much of Europe and the Middle East. In Christian Europe, eggs continued to be dyed in springtime as part of Easter rituals, although the eggs were now seen as a symbol of the resurrection.  

Easter Foods
Traditional foods for the Easter feast reflect the Spring season.  White lambs are gamboling in the fields, and roast lamb is part of the traditional Easter feast in many countries.  Pork that was slaughtered and cured at the end of  autumn is now ready for eating as ham, and so ham may also appear in a traditional Easter feast.

There are many types of this dish named Paskha, but the general ingredients are the same: farmers' cheese, butter, heavy cream, sugar, eggs and sour creams. The desserts, which have appeared on Russian Easter Day breakfast tables since 17th century, are a traditional treat served to celebrate the end of Lent, breaking the seven-week fast of vegetarian-only foods.

- And if  you'd like to read a little more about Easter symbols such as lilies, and the Easter Bunny, check out  White-On


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