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March 19, 2008 > Easter and spring activities

Easter and spring activities

By Sam Rao

Here comes spring and as we already set our clocks forward, now come the celebrations to welcome the spring season.

With Easter coming, can the bunny or egg hunt be far behind? Well not really, it's just that some places have changed the names of the celebrations to names like "Spring Egg Hunt," rather than "Easter Egg Hunt," to be inclusive of all faiths and beliefs.

While Easter remains one of the most important Christian holidays, the celebration of the day has become a lot more popular with kids and parents happily assisting them, joining in the fun. Easter, or the annual festival in the spring season, is usually conducted around the first Sunday after the first full moon that falls on or after March 21. Traditions of how the egg and bunny got involved are, however, a bit hazy.

The Easter egg hunt apparently started when laws were established to enforce no consumption of eggs during Lent. This led to the cooking of eggs and storing them for later consumption. So when people started to hide and hunt for the eggs, the great tradition of an egg hunt was born. This also led to decorating and hiding eggs and variations of the egg hunt; egg tossing and egg rolling. Another tradition which gave rise to the egg hunt was the annual search for eggs of wild birds in the forests, which also led to a ritual and the birth of the spring egg hunt.

The egg has been a symbol of birth and fertility in many cultures. Romans, Russians, Egyptians, Persians and others used colored, dyed, decorated and painted eggs at ancient spring festivals to represent the rebirth of life. Later on, it became symbolic of the rebirth of man rather than nature. As Easter is associated with the resurrection of Christ, this tradition took on more significance with the advent of Christian beliefs and celebrations.

The Christian tradition of taking baskets stuffed with food to be blessed at Easter morning mass, gave rise to the modern tradition of baskets filled with goodies which now include chocolate bunnies, chocolate eggs and toys.

The origin of the Easter Bunny is a bit unclear. Legends of the rabbit abound in ancient tales and similar children's tales about the rabbit in the moon are told around the world. European tales also have the bunny laying eggs and children looking for them.

In more recent times, one of the most well-known egg hunts takes place on the White House lawn. The first egg hunt at the White House on Easter Sunday was reportedly in 1878, hosted by President Rutherford B Hayes. The original site of the Easter Monday Egg Roll was the grounds of the United States Capitol. This tradition is routinely observed by every President and their family. The Easter Bunny also makes its appearance every year.

In the Tri-City area, Easter and spring activities have begun as children took part in Union City's Spring Egg Hunt, held at the Kennedy Community Center on Saturday, March 15.

Ardenwood Historic Farm will be having its own "Egg Hunt" on Saturday, March 22, from 10 - 11:30 a.m. The cost for admission to the Egg Hunt is $8 to residents, and $10 for non-residents. This admission fee is paid per child (0-8) and also admits one adult. You can stay afterward to make your own Easter bonnet and have fun with the farm animals in a special event workshop called, "Easter Bonnet & Parade" from 1 - 2:30 p.m. The Easter spirit continues on Sunday, March 23, when the farm hosts traditional egg decorating from 11:30 - 1 p.m.

A special egg hunt called the "Search for the Golden Egg" will be held from 1:30 - 2 p.m. on Sunday in which participants will get clues to help them find the golden egg that will give them good luck all spring. At 2:30 p.m. Ardenwood Historic Farm brings the quirky 128-year-old White House tradition of 'Egg roll' to the Tri-City area. "We have our own fabulous green lawn and big white house. Bring a picnic and enjoy holiday fun," said Ardenwood staff. This traditional event will continue until 3 p.m. and offer colorful eggs hidden around the gardens filled with surprises.

Registration is required for admission to some of these events, Call (888) 327-2757, option 2, for more information.

The City of Newark is also celebrating Easter with an egg hunt, but this one will have a unique twist. Children will be able to practice swimming and other water skills while looking for plastic eggs in the "Aqua Egg Hunt" from 6 - 8 p.m. on Monday, March 24. Children will be able to find eggs in the water or in special hiding spots around the facility. Easter eggs can be turned in for a bag of treats and a lucky few will find a "Special Egg" to receive a free Family 4-pack to the facility. This event requires pre-registration and costs $8 if you register before March 20 or $10 at the door on the day of the event.

Call (510)-578-4620 for more information about the Aqua Egg Hunt.

Happy hunting for eggs and rolling them too!

Upcoming Local Easter events:

Saturday, March 22

Egg Hunt
10 - 11:30 a.m.
Cost: $8 (One Child and adult), $10 (Non-residents)

Easter Bonnet & Parade
1 - 2:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 23

Egg Decorating
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Search for the Golden Egg
1:30 - 2 p.m.

Easter Egg Roll
2:30 - 3 p.m.

Ardenwood Historic Farm
34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont
(888) 327-2757, option 2, 3
(510) 796-0199

Aqua Egg Hunt
Monday, March 24
6 - 8 p.m.
Silliman Aquatic Center
6800 Mowry Ave., Newark
Cost: $8 (Pre-registration), $10 (At door)

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