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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Why is Ham the Traditional Easter Dinner?: Ham, Lamb, and Hot Cross Buns, Enjoy the Feast!


Throughout most of the centuries of Christianity, (and still for Eastern Orthodox Christians, whose stick-to-itiveness is to be highly commended), no meat was eaten during Lent.  Since livestock was slaughtered in the Fall, and there was no refrigeration, any meat left over on Ash Wednesday, (at the beginning of Lent), had to be cured if it was to be preserved.  Hence, on Easter Day, when the long 55 days of Lent were finally over and meat could be eaten, a lovely cured ham was the natural choice.

Some, as a holdover from the Jewish Passover, feast on roast lamb on this day.  This seems most appropriate, as Easter is the Passover of our Lord.

Hot cross buns, too, are a traditional favorite of the season, although, strictly speaking, they are to be enjoyed on Good Friday.

Cjosch, click for license
In early Protestant England, the monarchy viewed hot cross buns as a dangerous holdover from Catholicism, as they were made from the dough used to make communion wafers, and tried to ban them.  The people, however, would have none of that, and protested mightily.  Elizabeth I finally relented and decreed that they may be sold on Christmas and Easter.

Some believe that the tradition of hot cross buns may have begun with the Anglo-Saxons, who baked honey cakes in celebration of the goddess Eostre.  Perhaps so, although it is not certain, but, nevertheless, as she does best, and as it should be, the Church claimed them, put a cross on them, and declared Jesus Lord of all.  So, I’ll say it again…we can pitch all traditions (Christmas trees, holly, etc.) that had their start elsewhere, or we can follow the lead of the traditional church and make them our own, lest anyone should forget who it is that had triumphed over sin and death, and redeemed his people.

Wishing you and exquisite Easter Feast!

He is Risen!
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1 comment:

  1. Well said! Happy easter...he is risen...and I am finally your confirmed sister in Christ!


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