Easter Eggs and Other Easter Traditions Explained

  • March 26, 2012
  • Jenna Maxwell

Have you ever wondered who dreamed up the idea of Easter Eggs?  What about the Easter Bunny in that funky Easter Bunny costume -- where did that tradition come from?   With Easter just around the corner, we thought it would be fun to explain a little bit about the history of some of the more common Easter traditions.

Easter Bunny-Tradition states that on Easter this wily rabbit brings baskets full of Easter eggs and toys to children.  Although this custom has been around for a very long time, as it turns out, the Easter bunny has its roots as a pagan rather than a religious symbol.  In Ancient days, long before the Christian holiday of Easter was even celebrated, pagan villagers adopted this hare as a figure of their own holiday as it represented to them the beginning of new life.

Pagan cultures of long ago often celebrated the various seasons and the many different things associated with each of them. In the spring, the world began to come to life again with plants and flowers growing and blooming.  These ancient people celebrated this renewal of life and were thought to believe that these rituals would assist in the perpetuation and fertility of crops, animals and even human beings.  The Saxons worshiped a maiden goddess of fertility known as Eastre, and she was frequently glorified during a springtime village gala. (As a side note, Halloween also has its roots as a pagan celebration associated with harvest time.)

When Christian missionaries came to convert these pagan people to Christianity during the second century, these celebrations eventually were adapted to become Christian holidays rather than pagan holidays.  The festival of Eastre was near the time of Christ’s resurrection, so as time went by, the holidays were assimilated into one celebration, and of course, the Easter Bunny came along for the ride.

Easter Eggs-Eggs have been the symbol of rebirth since ancient days as well.  It seems only natural that a springtime holiday would have the symbol of an egg associated with it, as the earth does appear to be somewhat reborn during the springtime months. The tradition of dyeing eggs during springtime celebrations has been around since the time of the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Christians adopted the custom of decorating eggs and used the eggs to symbolize the ideals of rebirth and resurrection.  In the 600’s, Pope Gregory the Great actually made it illegal to eat eggs during Lent (the 40 days before Easter) so that when Easter finally came and it was then again okay to eat eggs, the eggs seemed like a very delicious and special treat.  Over the years it has become a custom all over the world to decorate eggs around the time of Easter. 

Knowing a little bit of history about your favorite holidays makes it even more fun and enjoyable.  Now when you bite the ears off that chocolate bunny or munch a peanut butter filled chocolate egg, you can think about the long history involved to make that Easter fun happen! 


Spring Has Sprung!

  • March 19, 2012
  • Jenna Maxwell

You’re feeling it.  The daylight hours are definitely longer and finally the sun is setting much later in the day.  You’ve likely experienced some warmer days as well, and perhaps springtime flowers are blooming in a place near you.  Birds are building their nests and the hope of a post-winter thaw looms closer than ever!   Here are some fun facts and trivia about spring to help get you excited about yours!

  • The Vernal Equinox occurs on March 21.  This is the day when daylight and nighttime hours are nearly the same, approximately 12 hours each.  This occurs when the earth’s position in its orbit around the sun places the equator in a direct line with the sun. 
  • A bee must collect pollen from approximately 2 million flowers in order to make honey the equivalent of a one-pound comb.    Speaking of honeybees and pollen, bees actually have a preference when it comes to the flowers they choose.  Their faves seem to be the yellow and blue posies, no one really knows why.
  • Spring Fever is completely legit.  If you are feeling more energetic due to the onset of spring, you are not alone.  Scientists have proven that as daylight increases and the weather warms up, the body makes less melatonin (which makes you sleepy) and more serotonin (which makes you feel good).  These hormonal fluctuations actually will cause a form of mild giddiness, jubilance and a surge of energy that may be noticeable to some; it’s not your imagination.  If you are feeling an uncontrollable urge to do your spring cleaning or are unusually amorous, it may be an after effect of these hormonal ebbs and flows, just go with it, it’s completely normal.  You may also find yourself getting fewer colds and flu bugs as well.  Warmer weather decreases the onset of these annoying maladies-- say a fond farewell!
  • Birds must learn to sing.  It’s completely true.  Although birds are born with the natural ability to sing, they must be taught the bird songs that are indigenous to their own species.  The only way for them to do this is through hearing other like birds sing these complex songs.  Interestingly enough, it’s very rare for a bird to be able to learn the songs of another species of bird.  The Mockingbird is well known as the great imitator amongst birds, and seems to easily learn and sing the songs of other varieties of birds, but this is apparently a unique talent.
  • Kids grow twice as fast in the springtime as they do during the other months.  If yours suddenly seem to be sprouting rapidly upward, don’t be surprised!  It seems logical, too, that kids are likely hungrier because of this phenomenon.  If food is also disappearing around your place at a very rapid pace, then yes, it must be spring!
  • Most popular U.S. Spring Break getaways: Beach: Miami, Key West, South Padre Island, Myrtle Beach, Maui Mountain/Ski Vacations:  Jackson Hole, Aspen, Lake Tahoe, VailFamily Trips: Washington DC, New York, Orlando, San Diego

Enjoy the longer days, the long-awaited winter thaw, and the warmer weather  Finally, spring is in the air!


Spring Blockbusters Soon in a Theater Near You

  • March 12, 2012
  • Jenna Maxwell

The signs of spring are everywhere.  As you moved your clock ahead one hour this past weekend you set into motion one of many rituals that signal what lies ahead: longer days, warmer weather and of course, the long awaited Spring break.  This spring, Hollywood has lots of fabulous movies in queue, just waiting to hit the theaters for your viewing pleasure.  Here are a few exciting films that you will not want to miss that all debut this month!  Shed your winter doldrums once and for all with a quick escape to a movie theater near you!

21 Jump Street

Watch the hilarious shenanigans of two friends who reconnect at the Police Academy where the duo do their absolute best at mostly pathetic underachievement. Resigned to an assignment that uses their youthful looks to infiltrate the world of young crime, the goofy twosome pose as high school students in order to help break up a drug ring.  In order to add legitimacy to the ruse, the pair must first move back in with their parents and eventually set up a bust that is to happen right during the High School Prom!  Starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, 21 Jump Street promises to be a pleasant surprise with lots of hilarious fun in store.  21 Jump Street hits theatres March 16, 2012.

The Hunger Games

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4S9a5V9ODuY

In a futuristic society known as Panem, now divided into 12 districts, a 16-year old girl named Katniss lives with her parents inside one of the poorest districts.  Panem is located in what once, many years ago, was United States.  In the distant past, the districts had taken up a battle against the Capitol but unfortunately were defeated in the war.  As part of the surrender agreement, the districts now must comply with the demands of the Capitol.  This agreement states that annually each district must send both one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called “The Hunger Games”.  During the games themselves the rules sometimes are altered along with the level of audience participation that will occur.  However, one thing remains constant during the Hunger Games.  The games are a fight to the death, and all of it is featured live on television.  When Katniss’ younger sister is selected to be the female participant in the Hunger Games, Katniss bravely volunteers to take her place and finds herself in a situation where she must kill or be killed.  The Hunger Games will be in theatres March 23, 2012.

Wrath of the Titans

Perseus, the son of Zeus has been striving for a quieter life raising his son but like many of the best-laid plans, his hopes for a simpler existence comes to a screeching halt.  There is trouble brewing between the gods and the Titans and the gods are quickly losing control of the imprisoned Titans; in particular, their fiery leader Kronos.  Kronos had been overthrown by his sons Zeus, Hades and Poseidon and was left to rot in a stinking dungeon in the deep abyss of the underworld.  As Kronos aligns himself with Zeus’ traitorous son Ares, as well as Hades who has now traded in his loyalty, Perseus must now find his calling and make a brave quest into the underworld in order to rescue a captured Zeus, and of course, save the world.   Wrath of the Titans premieres March 30, 2012.

Mirror Mirror 


http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi4079329561/

The enchanting fairy tale of Snow White is revisited in this exciting epic story containing the things all good adventures are made of--jealousy, betrayal and of course, romance. 

In Mirror, Mirror a wicked queen and stepmother (played by Julia Roberts) schemes to take over a kingdom and then tries to win over the handsome and charming prince.  To her horror, the queen discovers that the prince is already enamored with the local princess, Snow White, who has completely captured the prince’s heart.  Not to be outdone, the evil queen quickly banishes Snow White to the forest where a man-eating beast anxiously awaits her arrival.

Luckily for Snow White she is discovered by a band of undersized ruffian highway robbers and is taken under their wing.  In time, and with proper training from her new subjects, Snow White grows into a strong and indomitable young woman, determined to reclaim her birthright.   With the help of her new little friends, Snow White and crew set forth on a magical battle that retells the classic story of Snow White like it has never been told before.  Mirror Mirror hits theaters March 30, 2012.


Fun St. Patrick's Day Trivia Without Any Of The Blarney

  • March 05, 2012
  • Jenna Maxwell
Fun St. Patrick's Day Trivia

St. Patrick’s Day is a really exciting springtime holiday to get into whether you are Irish or not.  To make this day a little bit more meaningful as well as fun, we have compiled a list of little known Irish factoids and some St. Patrick’s Day trivia--sans the Blarney, of course.  Here’s our top 15 list of St. Patrick’s Day Facts.  Now you can be a little more knowledgeable about all things Irish --may the luck o’ the Irish be with you!

  •  Many in local Irish pubs will be raising a cold pint of Guinness, simultaneously wishing their buddies “Sainte!” which translated from Irish means “health”.  Interestingly enough, according to the American Heart Association, Guinness may be as effective as a daily aspirin in reducing blood clots that can cause heart attacks.  (The dark Irish ale is filled with antioxidants that are unfortunately, not found in paler counterparts.)
  • St. Patrick’s Day celebrates Ireland’s patron saint, St. Patrick who died back in the 5th century.  Ironically, St. Patrick was not born in Ireland at all--he was born in Britain.
  • Irish bad guys kidnapped St. Patrick when he was just a wee lad, at the tender age of 16 and subsequently brought him to Ireland where he was forced into slavery for 6 years.  Eventually St. Pat was able to escape and return to his parent’s home where he then had a vision.  In his vision he saw that he would be preaching Christianity to the Irish people.

  • There is a myth about St. Patrick stating that he eliminated all snakes from Ireland and that they all ended up in the Irish Sea.  This tale is completely false, as snakes are not indigenous to the Emerald Isle.
  • The Shamrock is the national flower of Ireland.
  • Even though it is customary to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day, this color in Ireland was actually long considered to be very unlucky by most Irish people.  Green was thought to be the favorite color of evil minded faeries who in Irish culture were known to actually steal people (especially children) who wore too much of the color.
  • The most traditional and popular Irish foods consumed on St. Patrick’s Day are Irish Soda Bread, Corned Beef and Cabbage and obviously, Guinness!

  • The New York St. Patrick’s Day parade is the oldest running parade in the world and has been going since 1762.
  • Ironically, as recently as the 1970’s, pubs in Ireland were closed on St. Patrick’s Day, which was considered a national religious holiday. 
  • Chicago has it’s Irish claim to fame in that the Chicago River is infamously dyed green on St. Patrick’s Day, a tradition that began in 1962 when 100 lbs. of green vegetable dye was poured into the river.  More people are likely to view the Chicago River on St. Patrick’s Day than any other day because of this very green tradition.
  • About 1.9 billion pints of Guinness will be consumed around the world every year.  How much of this is chugged on St. Patrick’s Day is anyone’s guess!
  • Erin Go Braugh translated into English actually means, “Ireland Forever!” 
  • Kissing the Blarney stone is said to give one the gift of eloquent speech.
  • If you look away from a leprechaun it will turn and run away.  (Assuming you ever see one in the first place, good luck with that!)
  • Tradition says that if you are caught on St. Patrick’s Day not wearing something green, you are likely to get pinched!

Have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Erin Go Braugh!