Friday, 29 March 2013

Antique Easter Egg Designs

Antique Egg Designs

This coming Sunday Mar 31 is an Easter Sunday, a much anticipated time for children and adults alike.  Sharing in this festive mood, as an addition to my previous blog: 

I would like to present these antique egg designs, Happy Easter Everyone.

The End.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Easter Traditions of Eggs and Rabbits

Easter traditions of Eggs and Rabbits

In multicultural Canada, some who are not Christian might wonder why at this time the stores are stocked with decorative eggs, chocolate eggs and bunnies. 
A brief explanation therefore is warranted:

Why Eggs?

First and foremost, Eggs are known to be a traditional symbol of fertility and rebirth, pre-dating Christian traditions.  The custom of decorating eggshells is an ancient one. Ostrich eggs with engraved decorations for instance dating back 60,000 years have been discovered in Africa.  Meanwhile decorated ostrich eggs, and representations of ostrich eggs in gold and silver, were usually placed in the graves of ancient Egyptians and Sumerians going back as far as 5,000 years.
The ancient Zoroastrians painted eggs for Nowruz, their New Year celebration, at the spring equinox. The tradition continues today among Persians of Islamic, Zoroastrian, and other faiths. The sculptures on the walls of Persepolis show people carrying eggs for Nowruz to the king.

Easter eggs are special eggs that at present are often given to celebrate Easter or springtime. This tradition goes all the way back to early Christians of Mesopotamia, who had once stained eggs red in memory of the blood of Christ. The egg symbol was later officially adopted by the Christian church as the symbol of resurrection.  For all Christians, it is a reminder that Jesus rose from the grave.   It once was a custom to use up all the household eggs before Lent began. Eggs were originally forbidden during Lent you see, as well as other dairy and meat products.

Easter eggs are a popular symbol of life in Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and other Central European countries ‘folk traditions.  A batik (wax resist) process is used to create intricate, brilliant colored eggs, the best known of which is the Ukrainian pysanka and the Polish pisanka.  At one time, 60 or more eggs would have been decorated by the women of the household. These eggs would be taken to church on Easter Sunday to be blessed before being given away.

There are many other decorating techniques and traditions of giving Eggs as a token of friendship, love and good wishes.  In some Mediterranean countries, especially in Lebanon, chicken eggs are boiled and decorated dye and or painting. In Greece, on Easter Sunday friends and family hit each other’s egg s together.  The one whose egg does not break is believed to be in for good luck in future.

In Germany eggs decorate trees and bushes as Easter eggtrees, and in several areas public wells as Osterbrunnen.

In Scotland children roll painted eggs down steep hills on Easter Sunday.  Egg rolling is also a traditional Easter egg game played with eggs in the United Kingdom, Germany and many other countries.   
This tradition was brought to New World by European settlers and continues to this day. In the U.S.A. it is done on flat ground and is pushed along with a spoon. On the White House lawn the annual Egg Roll is a fun event and is accompanied by the Easter egg hunt. 

 Why Rabbits?

The Easter Bunny or Easter Rabbit is a endearing character that brings Easter eggs (mostly in the form of chocolate) to children.

Rabbits and Hares, like Eggs, are considered fertility symbols since the olden days. Because birds lay eggs and rabbits give birth to large litters in the early spring these became symbols of the rising fertility of the earth at the March Equinox.

Rabbits are prolific breeders. They can conceive a second litter of offspring while still pregnant with the first.  This phenomenon is known as  superfetation. Lagomorphs mature sexually at an early age and can give birth to several litters a year (hence the saying, "to breed like a rabbit"). It is therefore not surprising that their springtime mating antics should enter into Easter folklore.  
In ancient times it was widely believed that the hare was a hermaphrodite. The idea that a hare could reproduce without loss of virginity led to an association with the Virgin Mary. It may also have been associated with the  Holy Trinity, as in the  three hares motif, representing the "One in Three and Three in One" of which the triangle or three interlocking shapes such as rings are common symbols.

Happy Easter Everyone!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

The Game of Thrones Exhibit

The Game of Thrones Exhibit

Most of us spend our daily lives from dawn to dusk acquiring new skills, learning, working then spending down time in some form of recreation.  With some exceptions, many of us have had spent our early years in being delightfully entertained by varied imaginary games and plays. In our responsible adult life we cling onto similar avenues that offer us that delightful reprieve. Fortunately every so often a string of good movies, TV Series, or books comes along that carries young and old into the same fantasy world. When these intriguing books are translated into visual form our imagination again soars and our lives are transformed once more by the adventurous  Pirates of the Caribbean, Robin Hood, Star Wars, Mutant X, Lord of the Rings  and The Hobbit and  Game of Thrones, to name but a few.
During this March Break I reserved some time to see the exhibit of Game of Thrones.  After parking underground at  City Hall, watching the ice-skaters, doing some shopping and dining at a restaurant we walked down the vibrant Bay street to arrive at our destination in the old Stock Exchange building.  We had a fun time. Here are some photos of the exhibit:

The End.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The Discontented Little Turtle

The Discontented Little Turtle

All of Earth’s creatures would be contented with what they have, however little, until another comes along to upstage them.
It is in the nature of all creatures to boast and to outshine the other.  It is the enigmatic engine of truth and knowledge mired in contention and competition that inevitably robs all living beings of a peaceful heart.  So they hurtle at top speed towards that unwarranted need for a profusion of worldly goods. More is preferable, more is better, more is best, or is it?

Once upon a time there was a nice turtle family living happily in a modest pond inside a greenhouse. Their other turtle neighbors and the fish coexisted with them in perfect harmony sharing the bounty of the pond, never lacking for food, always sheltered from the harsh elements and happy to have all the space they needed to swim freely or wander about.  

During the summer months the diligent groundskeepers, for variety's sake would transfer some of these inhabitants to the outside pond. On such a happy excursion, the baby turtle found himself in the outside pond. With the eagerness of youth he spent many a good day exploring his new surroundings. He loved every new experience, every new blade of grass, every lotus flower, rocks and so forth. When it rained the droplets and the rushing wind delighted the baby turtle’s senses.  

Then there were the other interesting creatures in the air that captivated his imagination; some were small but others were incredibly huge.

With a contented air the baby turtle was sunning on his favorite rock one day, when quite absently he heaved a sigh and exclaimed, “Can things be any better than this? I have everything I need right here. This pond is the biggest and best place ever!”
“It’s adequate, yes, but certainly not the best or the biggest.”  The nearby seagull wryly grunted, startling the baby turtle.

“What you mean?” The baby turtle demanded an explanation, quickly overcoming his surprise.
The seagull could not miss this chance to amaze this little thing and boast of the places he’d seen and the existence of a vast lake not too far away. “The lake is so expansive that you cannot fly over it from one end to the next. It’s limitless.  It is so deep that no amount of drought affects the levels very much or ever can drain it.”
By the time he was through listing  the scope and grandeur of the vast open waters he had invoked in the baby turtle such curiosity and yearning that all joy and contentment had left the poor little thing. No longer was this baby turtle happy, imagining far better places he could never be.

Long after the seagull was gone the baby turtle was still unhappy and for days on end just moped about. His parents were greatly concerned about his well being and eventually, after much prying, learned the source of his troubles.  They were wise enough not to scold him for his naivete,  ingratitude or greed. Instead, his father had simply shaken his head, and then said, “To be upset over what you don’t have is to waste what you do have.”

The little turtle nodded, and went back to the happy way he was.

The End.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

March Break 2013

March Break 2013

This is the time when those who have endured the long harsh winter sequestered indoors, with only some short visit to the snowy slopes, now line up in the airports to migrate south seeking that eternal sunshine and hot, hot temperatures. They all have but one objective: to regenerate and pack into their week long hasty schedules as much sun, swim and of course, fun as they can.

Who wouldn't wish for a glorious reprieve sprawled on the beach with an occasional dip in the ocean all the while achieving the bragging rights to that golden glow once back at home?

While some would enjoy a good night’s sleep, the frolicking masses try to let off more steam by dancing the night away in some extra loud musical establishments.

Sun, Ocean and fun and more fun!!!!! Happy March Break everyone.