Mangaluru: When I was a kid I had no idea what a Easter Egg was, but these days Easter like Christmas has become so commercialized that Easter is incomplete without Easter Eggs, Easter Bunnies, and other fancy goodies. And especially for kids these days, the meaning of Easter is to crack open Easter eggs and eat the candies stuffed inside them ? Last year when I walked into our house after morning Easter Mass, my niece’s two daughters came running to me and bugged me saying, ” Uncle, Uncle..where’s our Easter Eggs ? We want our Easter eggs ? Please bring us some Easter eggs ?”
Oh well, I had no other choice but to call my buddy Bryan Vas, who owns Vas Bakery, Bendoor, to save me some Easter eggs. Since he told me that only a few Easter eggs were left, I quickly rushed to his shop and grabbed some Easter eggs and few other Easter goodies – came back home, offered them to the girls. My God you should have seen the smile on the face of these tiny girls. I felt glad that I made their Easter joyful. Sadly, I miss them this year, since both the girls are in USA with their mom and dad. But to keep that Easter tradition still alive, this Easter I will be taking some Easter Eggs to my friend’s daughter and son, where I have been invited to join them for Easter dinner on Sunday.
Since couple of days, Mangalorean Christians have been hopping around the city to grab some Easter eggs and other Easter goodies. Few bakeries/pastry shops in town namely Vas Bakery-Bendoor, Crave Bakes and Desserts-Balmatta, Cochin Bakery, and others are selling Easter eggs and other goodies, like Easter bun with a cross on it etc; etc; pertaining to Easter. And all the owners/managers of these stores said that the business is brisk, with people shopping for variety of Easter eggs, cakes, wine, candies, pastries etc. Most of these decorated Easter eggs are either made of chocolate, vanilla, chocolates and marzipan.
Sources reveal that the tradition of Easter eggs was introduced in Mangaluru by the Britishers who lived in this coastal town before India got Independence. The story behind the Easter egg is that – the hard shell of the egg is believed to be the sealed tomb of Jesus Christ and the cracking the egg symbolizes Christ’s resurrection from the dead. And the fun part is that the children are made to believe that Easter bunnies (rabbits) bring Easter eggs and hide it in the house or the house yard/garden. ( For that matter the “bunnies” happen to be kids parents/relatives/teachers). Although Easter Egg Hunt is not so popular in Mangalore- the ” Rome of the East”, but in many Christian countries, especially USA, there’s no Easter celebration without a ‘Easter Egg Hunt. Even the President of United States participates with the kids during the Easter Egg Hunt, that takes place annually during Easter at the White House lawn.
Talking to Bryan Vas of Vas Bakery-Bendoor, he said, “This year Easter Eggs sale has been brisk, since we had 5-6 different colours of eggs. These days demand for Easter eggs and other modern Easter goodies are growing, ever since we started making these eggs years back. This year we have prepared over 1000 Easter eggs, and I am sure they will be all sold by Easter Sunday afternoon, since we close at 1pm. We also sold many ‘Easter Buns with Cross on it’, since it is very popular item during Easter, among Catholic families. There has also been a huge demand for home-made wine and rum/raisin cakes. Each Easter egg is priced between Rs 40-Rs 300 depending on the size”.
Michael Saldanha and Carl Correa-partners of Crave Bakes and Desserts said, ” Since we just opened our pastry shop few months ago, this is our first Easter business, but we have already received many orders for Chocolate Easter eggs and also buns with Cross on it. Our bakers have been working long hours to meet our customers requirements. Celebrate Easter with our Easter eggs-Happy Easter”
Brief History of Easter Egg:
Easter eggs are special eggs that are often given to celebrate Easter. In Christianity, they symbolize the empty tomb of Jesus: though an egg appears to be like the stone of a tomb, a bird hatches from it with life; similarly, the Easter egg, for Christians, is a reminder that Jesus rose from the grave, and that those who believe will also experience eternal life.
Eggs, in general, were a traditional symbol of fertility, and rebirth, pre-dating Christian traditions.The practice of decorating eggshell is ancient. Ostrich eggs with engraved decoration that are 60,000 years old have been found in Africa. Decorated ostrich eggs, and representations of ostrich eggs in gold and silver, were commonly placed in graves of the ancient Sumerians and Egyptians as early as 5,000 years ago.
In particular, the custom of the Easter egg originated amongst the early Christians of Mesopotamia, who stained eggs red in memory of the blood of Christ, shed at his crucifixion. The Christian Church officially adopted the custom, regarding the eggs as a symbol of the resurrection; in A.D. 1610, Pope Paul V proclaimed the following prayer:
Although the tradition is to use dyed or painted chicken eggs, a modern custom is to substitute chocolate eggs, or plastic eggs filled with confectionery such as jelly beans or chocolates. These eggs can be hidden for children to find on Easter morning, which may be left by the Easter Bunny. They may also be put in a basket filled with real or artificial straw to resemble a bird’s nest.