Beads & Bunnies

Easter celebrates with some of the strangest rituals. Rabbits lay eggs. Eggs change colors. Treasures are stuffed into eggs. When I was growing up, I looked forward to all of these traditions and have passed the strange rites on to my children. The origins of these rituals are as unusual as the current-day customs.
Square wire leaf earrings
If I was Eoster, I would wear Square wire leaf earrings like these, by Lilian Chen, but I would switch out the acorns for hare-themed charms.
Today, Easter is known as an annual Christian festival, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Many scholars believe the name, Easter, derives from a pagan festival dedicated to the goddess, Eoster (or Oestre or Ostara). This reference is mentioned by the Carl Sagan of the eighth century, a.k.a. a monk named Bede. In Bede’s The Reckoning of Time, circa 725, the lunar month of Eosturmonath celebrated the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, Eostre. The feast of Eostre was celebrated on the spring equinox, embracing the arrival of light, the awakening of the land, and the idea of spring bringing new life. This goddess of Dawn was believed to bring life back to the earth after long dark winters. Representing the rebirth of life, Eostre was said to be accompanied by a hare, carried by hares, or, in some notations, was depicted as having the head of a hare. In all cases, the hare was a sign of fertility. Another symbol associated with Eoster was the egg, representing procreation and birth.
To make a clip-art cabochon, paint flat, glass marbles with clear nail polish then place clipped, public domain images on the wet polish followed by a coat of colored polish. When dry, use E-6000 to glue the finish cabs on a bail for a pendant or a ring base to make a ring. Watch for project directions to follow.

There are even legends which intertwine Eoster’s hare and egg symbols. The story goes that Eoster was detained one year in bringing spring. Arriving late, she found a bird succumbing to the cold and dying on the forest floor. Feeling responsible, Eoster revived the bird and changed it into a fur-covered hare, naming it Lepus. Since Lepus had once been a bird, every year as the spring returned, the hare laid eggs. These eggs were then given to Eoster to thank her for saving the hare’s life. Eoster encouraged Lepus to travel around the world distributing eggs, thinking that everyone would appreciate a similar gift. Some feel this is why the Easter Bunny brings us eggs. In another telling of the tale, Eoster becomes enraged by the hare and tossed it in the sky -- where the hare became the constellation just south of Orion -- but allows Lepus to visit once a year in spring. [My 12-year-old son explained that Lepus is also the name of a large rabbit “boss” in the mobile/PC game of Terraria.]

How to make polymer clay eggs
Turn your eggs any color you desire with this polymer project. Click to learn How to make polymer clay eggs.
Easter eggs have become a symbol of new life and resurrection. Two Christian stories give rise to the origins of colored eggs. One cites Mary, mother of Jesus, as offering eggs to soldiers whom guarded her son in an attempt to stop the crucifixion. When the soldiers refused to take the eggs, Mary’s tears touched the eggs and transformed them to different colors. The second story tells of Mary Magdalene trying to convince the Roman Emperor Tiberius that Jesus had risen from the grave. Tiberius mocked her, saying that Mary Magdalene’s statement was no more possible than the eggs in her basket turning red. They looked down at the eggs she was carrying; and to their astonishment, the eggs had all turned red. Other stories simply say eggs are dyed to remind us of the colors of spring time.
Netted Easter egg
After visiting a Fabergé exhibit in Wilmington, Delaware, Diane Hertzler created these Netted Easter eggs.
Far better documented are the most famous Easter eggs, the FabergĀ­é eggs. In 1885, the first Fabergé egg was crafted as a request made by Tsar Alexander III of Russia. He wanted to give his wife Empress Maria Feodorovna a memorable Easter gift, and asked jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé to make an extraordinary object. Fabergé produced an egg covered with white gold, an egg yolk made from gold, and inside the yolk was a hen also made of gold. Embedded in the hen was a ruby crown. The fabulous egg gift became a tradition and continued with Nickolas II, but ended with the fall of his reign in 1917.
Beaded Eggstravagance
Julia Gerlach created these crystal-and-pearl-studded eggs, pure Beaded egg-stravagance.
While we don’t have the resources of a czar, we do have the beading knowledge to encrust eggs with crystals and beads for endearing, everlasting keepsakes. Whether you like beads on your egg or chocolate in them, I encourage you to find ways to celebrate the cycle of rebirth and the need for renewal in our lives.
FIND MORE: holiday , wire , glass , polymer clay , netting

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