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Why Easter Ham? Eggs?

Why Easter Ham? Eggs?

Easter and Passover are almost here. While there are many celebrations, customs and religious observations that occur this week, there are also many traditional foods that are served and consumed. Ever wonder why we eat certain foods during these holidays?

Some of the traditional foods served during Passover include:

Matzoh. Three unleavened pieces of matzohs are placed in folded napkins as a reminder of how quickly the Israelites had to flee Egypt, leaving no time for the dough to rise.

Horseradish is served to symbolize the bitterness of slavery.

A mixture of apples, nuts, wine and cinnamon — referred to as Charoses — is another food eaten during Passover and is suppose to remind people of the mortar used by the Jewish slaves when they constructed buildings.

Roasted lamb shank bone, referred to as Zeroah, represents the paschal offering.

A bowl of vegetables, usually celery, called Karpas, is another traditional food that represents hope and redemption.

Christians celebrate Easter with some traditional foods but seem to have more regional and family favorites rather than religiously dictated foods.

Ham is often served at the Eater table, which may seem odd since Jesus was Jewish and wouldn’t have eaten pork. It seems that this holiday food comes more from the timing of Easter rather than a religious meaning. Years ago, hams served during the Easter holiday were from meat that was originally slaughtered in the fall and cured throughout winter months. Since the holiday of Easter falls in spring, this celebration was cause to use the last of the winter-cured meats.

Eggs are a big part of the Easter tradition. Eggs are traditionally connected with rebirth, rejuvenation, and immortality. Since Easter is celebrated as the resurrection of Jesus, and it observed in the spring (a time when flowers, grass and other vegetation is born again), there’s an obvious connection with this food that reminds people of rebirth. Another reason may be that eggs during early Christian days were forbidden during Lent. So after the 40 days of not eating them, Easter was a welcomed day to eat eggs once again.

Hot Cross Buns — bread is a big part of many religious traditions and ceremonies, but the origin of hot cross buns predates Christianity in Europe. Supposedly the buns were made to celebrate the spring equinox in pagan societies, and have since been served during the Easter season.

What other traditional foods do you eat/serve on either Passover or Easter? My grandmother made Easter Bread with colored eggs baked into them, rather than hot cross buns.


1 Necole Severson { 05.13.13 at 9:30 pm }

Chinese dry-cured hams have been recorded in texts since before the Song dynasty and used in myriad dishes. Several types exist in Qing dynasty cuisine and are used in dishes of stewing hams.

2 Beth { 03.26.13 at 9:45 am }

Yes, as a Christian, everything is about Jesus Christ, His birth, His death and His resurrection. I was born to tell others about my Savior and the wonderful place He has prepared for me and my Christian brothers and sisters. He loved me enough to be born, die and conquer death. That is life to me. Thank you Jesus. Praise Your Holy Name, Jesus! If you haven’t experienced Jesus yet, allow Him to come into your life and you will believe that everything is about Him as well.

3 Pagan { 03.25.13 at 11:29 pm }

The Christians will always try to make everything about Jesus and Christianity. That is why they took Ostara/eostere anyway….

4 { 03.25.13 at 2:16 pm }

Eggs were originally used to celebrate the pagan goddess, Nimrod’s wife. The egg was also a symbol of fertility; Semiramis (Easter) was the goddess of Fertility. The Easter egg is a symbol of the pagan Mother Goddess, and it even bears one of her names. SURE not a Christian remembrance!

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