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11 November 2022

Ruta Mave: Egg-cellent adventure- Why Easter Egg Hunts are a tradition worth keeping

Tuesday 2 April 2024 | Written by Ruta Tangiiau Mave | Published in Editorials, Opinion

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Ruta Mave: Egg-cellent adventure- Why Easter Egg Hunts are a tradition worth keeping
Egg hunts create inquiring minds needed by inventors, for projecting an imagined goal with no instructions on how to get there, except by their own wit and determination. Cheryls.com/24040107

April first was also Easter Monday and the idea of a rabbit distributing colourful chocolate eggs seems like a plausible April fool prank, writes Ruta Mave.

The history of April fool’s day is said to come from the time when the calendar changed from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar in 1573. The Julian calendar started the new year at the spring equinox on April first but when it changed to January first, those who were slow to get the news became the butt of jokes and hoaxes and called April fools.

During the 18th century throughout Britain the idea grew, in Scotland the tradition became a two day event. In modern times some elaborate April Fool’s day pranks have been created that have taken whole countries from Swiss farmers experiencing a record spaghetti crop where noodles were shown being harvested from trees to in 1992 a national public radio ran a spot saying Richard Nixon was running for president again. Pranks from putting kick me signs on peoples backs to covering toilet seats with plastic wrap or swapping sugar and salt in containers have been practiced for years. But it seems, like the sale of Easter eggs, there was nothing here.

Easter bunny (rabbits represent fertility) and eggs symbolising birth or rebirth of Christ at the start of spring in the northern hemisphere, here it is the start of autumn, no one really cares so long as the eggs are chocolate. It was 1875 when John Cadbury made the first chocolate egg, now 180 million eggs are purchased every year, the average child eats eight. Cadbury crème eggs are most popular. Brazil eats the most eggs, followed by South Africa, Germany, UK and France. Candy, lollies, sweets are also given out where 81 per cent of parents steal some from their children’s basket. In the USA 91 million chocolate bunnies are sold annually – 89 per cent of Americans eat the ears first.

The shape of the egg is the pinnacle of architectural design, it has no internal solid support but it is strong enough to protect life growing inside and when stood end on end you can balance heavy weights on an egg. Try crushing one in the palm of your hand. End to end, not sideways. Eggs are made of protein which has the perfect make up of amino acids to build human tissue, second only to mother’s milk. Eggs have also become part of our everyday dialogue. In the movie ‘Boy’ it was a term of endearment to be an egg. You can be a good egg, or a bad egg, one might be eggscellent or an eggspert. I’m not yolking, well not eggsactly. Okay, good to know but boring. 

Easter fun day is Sunday because that’s when the Easter Bunny comes and leaves us Chocolate eggs.  I love this part, mainly because since my kids were little, I have set up an easter egg hunt for them. Granted when they were younger and not allowed sugar, I would wrap grapes in coloured foil and they thought it was great.  My friends threatened to report me for child cruelty.

When the kids started school, I had 12 plastic reusable eggs and I would cut up one marshmallow egg into equal pieces and hide them. My friends were still on my case. To teach me a lesson one time, they wrapped brussel sprouts in roses chocolate foil. I hate brussel sprouts but I did find it funny.

As teenagers they graduated to real chocolate eggs and it was always fun to hide them, no rules, no clues. Remarkably, they can find 10 tiny eggs hidden in a house full of stuff, but they can’t find their homework in their bag, or food in the fridge.

I hear parents say, thank goodness my kids don’t believe in easter bunny anymore meaning no egg hunts. Where’s the fun in that? I find it’s a great life lesson in setting goals. If you leave them to their own devices they give up after 3-5 but if you say there is more, they’ll go for another round maybe, 8 or 10 then stop, not expecting more. Tell them 20 exist they become persistent and inventive and frustrated when they can’t find them but if the goal is great enough, they’ll continue until it’s done.

Teenagers are easy, you put them where they don’t go, like amongst the dirty dishes there’re supposed to wash. Egg hunts create inquiring minds needed by inventors, for projecting an imagined goal with no instructions on how to get there, except by their own wit and determination. I like creating family traditions, the worst is as I get older, I forget where they are and I don’t find them until I open the marmite jar, or follow a line of ants.