It’s Easter in Hackney
HACKNEY EASTER BUNNIES, PAINTED EGGS & MOUNTAINS OF CHOCOLATE
It’s a Bank Holiday weekend. The banks shut down so the bankers can go to the Cotswolds, while the Hackney food banks stay open so that less fortunate folk can eat. Oops, did I blog that out loud?
The unfortunate truth for a lot of people around Britain – and here in Hackney in particular – is that luxuries like roast legs of lamb and foil-wrapped chocolate eggs are the last things they’re hunting for at this time of year. That’s why yesterday, as part of our commitment to the surrounding community, we donated a van load of cupboard items to our local food hub, Foodcycle in Hackney. Potatoes, onions, tomatoes, spices, salt, pepper, cooking oil, bags of pasta, blocks of cheese, and a big catering tin of coffee. Even a blender to help with the cooking. Anne, The Cooking Leader there, tells us it will allow them to cater for their guests ‘for months’. We’re happy to have been able to help.
So why has Easter, with all the trimmings, become such a tradition for those British families that can still afford to celebrate it? It’s certainly a great money-spinner. Think confectionery manufacturers, supermarkets, and greetings card shops.
Ostensibly, Easter is a Christian festival.
But even a cursory online search (now that we’ve all put our encyclopedias into storage) will tell you that the origins of Spring Solstice celebrations are pagan. Symbolically, eggs, rabbits and fluffy chicks are all about fertility, re-birth and growth. You can trace the concept of death and resurrection back to the Ancient Sumerian goddess Inanna, or Ishtar (sounds remarkably like Easter after a few glasses of wine). The earliest tablets inscribed with the story date back to 2000 years BC, and it’s likely to have been around for another 2200 years before that.
The Easter Bunny appears to be a leftover from the pagan festival of Eostre (sounds like Easter without a drink), a great northern goddess whose companion was a hare. The hare became a rabbit. The rabbit performed a biological miracle and started laying eggs for all the good children. The chocolate coating came later. Exchange of eggs is an ancient custom, celebrated by many cultures. Whereas Holi, which also happens around the vernal equinox, is a purely Hindu festival. Holi celebrates the victory of good over evil. Known as the ‘festival of colours’, participants celebrate it by tossing vibrant coloured powders onto each other and dancing in the streets. Sounds like a right laugh.
So, whether you’re a Christian, a Hindu, a Sikh, a Muslim, a Buddhist, or indeed agnostic or atheist, we hope you enjoy a chocolate eating frenzy for the next few days. If you find you can no longer fit into your trousers or your dresses as a result, why not give the team at Attic a call? We have storage units in small, medium, large and XXL. Now spring is here, you can de-clutter by storing your winter wardrobe and ironic Christmas jumpers until you need them again.
Or, if you end up with so many choccy bunnies, Faberge eggs and mugs with humorous messages on them, you can store them until next year, or until you fancy another chocolate binge. Or perhaps, consider donating them to those less fortunate than yourself.
Either way, I do sometimes wonder whether it should be called Easter, or Eatser.
Have a Good Friday and enjoy your Easter break.
The volunteers at Hackney Foodcycle preparing a meal