“Easter Sunday 2013” by Pauline Larsen

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Easter is one of  the most celebrated days in the Western  World, and  although America  is a melting pot of many cultures,  and it is celebrated in different ways  by different groups,  basically Easter is a Christian holiday.  It is  considered one of the oldest and holiest times commemorating the resurrection of  Christ, but there are also many interesting secular  facts associated with  Easter:

*The name Easter  derived its name from the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eastre.  The goddess Eastre,  was worshipped by the Anglo-Saxons through her earthy symbol, the  rabbit.

*The custom of  giving eggs at Easter time has been traced from Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, and  Romans, to whom the egg was a symbol of life.

*Each year nearly  90 million chocolate bunnies are made, and when it comes to eating chocolate  bunnies, the ears are  usually eaten first by about 75 percent of  people.  It is important to keep all the chocolate bunnies out of reach of  curious four-legged companions because chocolate is extremely toxic to dogs.  Actually all Easter treats should be kept away from your  pets!

*16 billion jelly  beans are made for Easter, with red jelly beans being the kids’  favorite.

*The Easter bunny  was introduced to American folklore by the German settlers who arrived in the  Pennsylvania  Dutch country during the 1700’s.  The arrival of the  “Oschter Haws” was almost as important as the visit from Chris-Kindel on  Christmas Eve.

*American children  play  games  including the Easter Egg Roll, where people roll eggs  down an incline, racing to see which egg gets to the bottom first, or Easter egg  hunts where adults hide the eggs and the children see how many they can  find.  .  Probably the most famous egg hunt  takes place on the  White House Lawn where hundreds of children  enjoy the  fun.

Penney Schwab shares her  favorite Easter surprise:

On this Holy day, I  acknowledge that I am truly blessed.  Morning worship featured an excellent  choir and inspiring service, and our daughter-in-law prepared a veritable feast  for dinner.  The traditional family egg hunt ended with only two children  in tears, and they were soon comforted as the older ones shared their cache of  eggs.  Easter is always a special day, but  last year’s was especially  memorable.  The children had barely finished their egg hunt when  my  husband Don announced,  “We need to leave early because we have to stop and  get  your Easter surprise.”

I looked at Don, then at my smiling children and grandchildren.  My heart  dropped to my toes, as I remembered remarks made earlier in the day.   Without thinking, I blurted out, “Not a dog!  It better not be a dog!   The last thing I need is someone else to take care of.”

Shock, hurt and dismay registered on every face.  I tried to backtrack but,  of course, I couldn’t undo the damage.  Finally one of the children asked,  “Won’t you at least look at her?”  I reluctantly agreed and our son found  an old animal carrier for us, “just in case.”  You can guess what  happened:  I met a fat, wiggly ball of fur and promptly fell in love with  Tarby, a golden lab pup.

Is she something else to care for?  O, yes, but is she worth it?   Absolutely.  This past year has had a few bumps, and Tarby’s wagging tail  and yips of “hello” never failed to lift my spirits.  The gift I didn’t  want turned out to be the next-to-best Easter gift ever; the most precious  Easter gift of all, of course, is  the resurrection of  Jesus.

May the glory and  promise of this day bring you joy and happiness.  Alleluia.  Have a  blessed Easter.

(Larsen may be  contacted at Paw Prints, Box 373, Newell, Iowa 50568 or by e-mail at  plarsen@rconnect.com)

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