This year was Bear and I’s very first Easter as vegans and we had a wonderful time with family and friends surrounded by love and lots and lots of food! It feels so uplifting to experience Easter for the first time as a vegan- truly cruelty free and supporting life. I’m always looking for ways to incorporate our plant-based lifestyle into family traditions. This year not only were we supported by the mainstream with so many vegan Easter eggs and treats but perhaps, more amazingly, we were totally supported by our families, who embraced our choice to celebrate a vegan Easter.
Easter is celebrated by people all over the world, and for many different reasons. I was brought up in a religious family and I went to a Church of England school, so I was taught from a young age what Easter meant to Christians.
My idea of Easter has started to change… and I started to wonder- why does Easter resonate with so many people and how would it fit in with our new vegan lifestyle?
Easter: A bit of history…
I decided to do some research. Easter is the most important Christian festival. It is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus on the third day after his crucifixion. Christians remember the resurrection of Jesus as a way to renew daily hope that people have victory over sin and to celebrate the gift of life that God has given.
But where did the word Easter come from? The origin of the word Easter isn’t certain. A possibility is the Norse ‘eostur, eastur, or ostara’, which means “the season of the growing sun” or “the season of new birth”. In this case, Easter could be linked to the changing of the season.
Easter is the culmination of spring and has many traditions which have been adopted by people all over the world, including the Easter bunny, chocolate eggs, gifts, baskets, flowers and food.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Easter? Religion, springtime, new beginnings, family, a feast of food. We are, of course bombarded with the influence of the media and one popular image is that of the Easter Bunny. So how did a rabbit distributing eggs become a part of Easter?
There are several reasons I could find for the rabbit, or hare, to be associated with Easter, all of which were born out of pagan celebrations or beliefs. The most prominent is the rabbit’s connection to spring and a celebration of new life.
Next to the Easter bunny, the most familiar symbol is the Easter egg. Like others, the egg has a long pre-Christian history. Again, there’s no certainty as to why it became associated with Easter, but interestingly many Ancient cultures viewed eggs as a symbol of life.
Hindus, Egyptians, Persians, and Phoenicians believed the world begun with an enormous egg. The Persians, Greeks, and Chinese gave gifts of eggs during spring festivals in celebration of new life all around them. In ancient Druid lore, the eggs of serpents were sacred and stood for life.
It seemed the more I read and learnt about Easter and its various meanings to so many; religious and secular – ancient and modern, the more I realised the common thread among them all, was the idea of life.
Easter and veganism to me- compliment each other beautifully. At its heart veganism is a life choice based on compassion and a deep respect for life. And it would appear, not too dissimilar from all the various teachings, beliefs and traditions surrounding Easter.
Highlights of my Vegan Easter…
Moo Free Chocolate
Moo Free Chocolate is delicious. It is a rice-milk based alternative to milk chocolate. Moo Free have managed to perfectly recreate the smoothness of chocolate and I can barely tell the difference at all! My favourite is the Bunnycomb Egg, it is amazing and reminds me of a Crunchie- perfect!
Spinach, Basil and Grain Salad
A new salad concoction inspired by some beautiful fragrant basil! Simply roughly chop some spinach and basil. Add some finely sliced spring onions and cubed cucumber. Combine a fresh grain mix. I used Sainsburys Thai Style Grains; cooked wheatberries, bulgur wheat and red quinoa flavoured with coconut milk, soy sauce and kaffir lime leaf. And to finish a twist of some quality olive oil. Simple and full of fresh flavour.
Peter Rabbit (2018 Film)
We loved this film, it was sweet and funny and had the perfect balance of chaos and mischief with a hefty dose of love and acceptance. It was the perfect Easter movie all about friendship and sharing. Its central storyline follows the familiar set up of man vs animals. It delivers our predictable but ever enjoyable happy ending, in which Peter Rabbit and his friends and Mr Thomas McGregor (THE Mr McGregor’s great nephew) all learn to share the land together. As we are reminded, “They were here first, we’re the latecomers”.
Bear and I had a wonderful first vegan Easter, we ate beautiful food and spent quality time with family. Easter may mean different things to different people, but I love that the commonality, is a coming together to celebrate life.
Happy Easter everyone.