Sunday, March 31, 2013

In the time of buns

Easter seems to be a bigger deal in London than it is in Minneapolis.

I don't know why this should be the case...for one thing, the UK is one of the world's more secular countries. So I was rather bemused to stumble upon an elaborate re-enactment of the Passion of Christ in Trafalgar Square during the noon hour on Good Friday.

On the other hand, most of the reminders I'm seeing have more to do with celebrating a holiday than a holy day...chocolate bunnies. Chocolate eggs. Chocolate bunnies wearing chocolate suits holding chocolate eggs.* Ads for sales on Easter appliances and Easter roast lamb.

I barely notice Easter when I'm at home. First, I'm not religious, nor was my family. My parents treated Easter (and Christmas) as essentially a children's holiday, with Easter baskets and colored eggs hidden about the house.

Anyway, what the celebration of Easter is really about, to my nature-loving heart, is the coming of springtime.

Easter is about resurrection, and so is spring. This is not a coincidence—in the same way that the juxtaposition of Christmas and the winter solstice is not a coincidence. But spring, unlike Easter, is as old as the world itself; clearly the time of rebirth and renewal in the Earth's story. So the turn of the wheel itself is what makes my heart sing.

I did partake of one Easter-in-London tradition, and a very cozy one it is, too: hot cross buns. Hot cross buns are not a thing in Minnesota; though I've read about them, and saw them being made on a cooking show last week, I'd never eaten one. So I went on a quest for the city's best hot cross bun, with the assistance of Sir Google. 

Quirky beliefs surround the humble hot cross bun. "Sharing a hot cross bun with another is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, particularly if 'Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be" is said at the time....If taken on a sea voyage, hot cross buns are said to protect against shipwreck. If hung in the kitchen, they are said to protect against fires and ensure that all breads turn out perfectly." (courtesy Wikipedia)

I guess my kitchen will have to remain bun-less and take its chances for another year, since I gobbled down every last crumb of mine.

*You can buy a 3-foot tall chocolate egg encircled by chirpy looking bunnies at Harrods. In large, piped-on letters, it says, "Happy Easter Harrods" on it. Yours for £750 ($1,139).

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