Easter

Easter was very much part of Victorian life, the Church itself was important not only as a spiritual guide and charity but also as a great reformer of the age.

20160326_104323Victorians expressed devotion with beautiful floral arrangements that decorated churches as I did yesterday. Easter is about Jesus being risen from the grave, so new life is tied up in any decoration and in any spiritual significance.

In Ladies Fancy Work from 1876  described how to make Easter crosses with myriad elaborately handmade wax flowers, as well as rustic cross pictures sprinkled with diamond dust and hand-embellished with mosses, ferns, coral, shells and bark. Based on publications of the time, floral arrangements of Easter lilies, white and yellow tulips, violets, purple pansies, lilacs and Chinese azalea adorned Victorian vases and mantels. Women also made token gift posies with white and yellow or purple flowers, such as lily of the valley with violets, of course men decorate as well nowadays.

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We had an Easter Egg hunt for our children today, a tradition in our church that probably stretches back into the Victorian Era. In Delineator’s April 1896 story “Easter in a Southern Town” described their hunt for colored eggs hidden in boxed hedges, honeysuckle arbors and among lilies. Today our children enthusiastically leap around our graveyard seeking out small brightly covered eggs which they all find at least one…

He is risen…

He is risen indeed

A happy Easter to one and all.

A Victorian Eastertide

In many ways we are so different from our Victorian forbears but in many ways we are so similar…so what of a Victorian Easter.

Well Easter was not about chocolate eggs but a celebration that Jesus had risen from the grave. Faith and religion was of far more importance to the Victorians than to our society today.

Britain in The Victorian Era was a Christian nation with firm beliefs which was in many ways a strength and a direction for many. Easter falls at the end of the winter and the end of Lent, which is a time of fasting during the Christian calendar. This is a joyful holiday marked by feasting, fun and celebration.

Easter cards arrived in Victorian England when a stationer added a greeting to a drawing of a rabbit and had a limited appeal.

Boiled eggs were traditionally eaten for breakfast, the eggs symbolising new life then Easter cards and  gifts would be exchanged.

The traditional main meal on Easter Day is Roast lamb, this is also the main dish at Jewish Passover. This would be followed by an Easter pudding of custard tarts sprinkled with currants and flat Easter biscuits which contain spices, currants and on occasions grated lemon rind.

Simnel cake which is quite similar to a Christmas Cake is baked for tea. The cake is a rich fruitcake covered with a thick layer of marzipan, however a layer of marzipan is also traditionally baked into the middle of the cake with eleven balls of marzipan are placed around the top to represent the eleven true disciples Judas being the exception of course.

And of course Easter wouldn’t be Easter without the chocolate egg and it was John Cadbury who first made his first Easter eggs that were solid through in 1842 but his first Easter eggs as we would recognise them came about in 1875.

The first eggs were made of smooth plain chocolate and were filled with dragees. A dragée is a snack sized type of confectionery which can have  decorative or maybe symbolic purpose and it is from then where we arrive at the present day with all sorts or shapes and sizes of chocolate eggs.

 A Happy Easter to one and all!