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Easter Dining Traditions

EASTER DINING AND FOOD TRADITIONS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD!

Easter is just around the corner, the quintessential celebration of spring, rebirth, new life and, in the Christian calendar, of course, the resurrection of Christ. And like many other events that bring families and friends together through the year, much of the way we celebrate revolves around one of our favourite things: food!

How we choose to enjoy Easter dining and food-based traditions varies wildly across the world. From eating succulent roast lamb in the UK or a roast ham in the US and tucking into buttery hot cross buns, to the perhaps more unusual rituals of dining with the departed at your local cemetery in Greece and the worldwide ritual of rolling brightly painted hard boiled egg which originated in Egypt. And of course, behind each tradition lies a rich history.

When you’re sitting down to enjoy your Easter weekend celebrations this year, at your table complete with your favourite set of Studio William cutlery, we hope you will delight in regaling some of these fun Easter facts to your family and friends!

HOT CROSS BUNS

In more ‘recent’ history, Hot Cross Buns are traditionally baked and eaten as a reminder of the crucifixion and as a way to indulge in egg, flour, butter and spices after the privations of Lent. But as most of us are aware nowadays, the arrival of Spring was being celebrated around the world long before Easter was Christianised and the wonderful, English tradition of a tucking into a buttery hot cross bun is easy to take for granted, but in fact, it is part of a very old past indeed.

The word bun, we are told, almost certainly derived from the Greek word ‘boun’ which referred to a ceremonial cake of flour and honey, baked in a crescent shape and offered to the gods. Small, ceremonial cakes, intended to be eaten at the time of the Spring festival and regarded as food for the gods, or of the gods, (and therefore potentially powerful), are a feature of Indo-European life from ancient to modern times. Italian and French Easter bread, as well as the English hot cross buns, are all modern forms of this custom. It is doubtful, however, that many people now regard them with the magical abilities that they were once supposed to possess.

In fact, the supernatural properties of the original hot cross bun (or Good Friday cake as it was also known), were so widely accepted in Tudor times that a London by-law forbade their sale at any time other than on Good Friday – or at burials! Fortunately, now we can buy these at any time of year and you can slather butter onto yours with your very own Studio William butter knife.

LAMB OR HAM?

You’ll be hard pressed to find a non-vegetarian household in the UK that doesn’t serve a carefully prepared roast lamb as a quintessentially British Easter dining tradition. Although these days this is more to do with sitting down to a good meal and continuing with how we were raised, the reason for this in memory of the Passover lamb at the Last Supper.

In the US, however, lamb is not usually the most significant dish. Instead, many families sit down to the roast ham and the origins of this are not Christian, but in fact Pagan! You may not have known it, but that juicy ham on your dining table dates back to at least 6th-century Germany, according to Bruce Kraig, the founder of the Culinary Historians of Chicago and is there to honour spring and the goddess Eostre.

Whatever meal you choose to enjoy, be sure to do so with a cutlery set that matches the occasion!

WORLDWIDE!

EASTER EGGS

The oldest decorated egg, known as the Diepkloof egg, was found in South Africa and is around 60,000 years old! And although these, now usually chocolate, treats have become a mainstay in the UK and US, decorating boiled eggs at the time of Easter is actually an Egyptian tradition that dates back to the Pharaohs. Ancient Persians also painted eggs for their New Year/ Spring Equinox celebration of Nowrooz.

As it turns out, this seemingly childlike and quirky tradition is not so Hallmark after all - it is tens of thousands of years old and it continues to this day in countries across the world from Russia to Italy and from Mexico to Japan.

GREEK TRADITIONS

We couldn’t leave you hanging on that ‘dining with the departed’ mention! In Heraklion, Crete, Easter dining is not only for the living, but for the dead as well.

On Easter Monday each year, Cretans visit local cemeteries with dishes prepared on Holy Friday to dine at the burial site of loved ones. Traditional dishes are enjoyed just the same as on our dining tables at home, just in a different setting!


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