Ring in Spring
Which came first, Easter or the egg?The purpose of the holiday hardly seems to matter anymore, but clues as to its earliest form are right there in all the marshmallow chickadees, chocolate bunnies and Cadbury eggs.
Christians combined their holy day rejoicing Christ's life and resurrection with pre-Christian, pagan celebrations of the vernal equinox. The name Easter is thought to come from the names Ostra and Eastre, mythological Scandinavian and Teutonic goddesses of spring and fertility. Rabbits and eggs (originally painted with bright colors to represent the sunlight of spring) survive as symbols of fertility and new life. Ditto: flowered dresses. Historians remain uncertain how patent leather shoes came into it.
Bay area families can introduce their kids to Easter's many multi-colored elements at the excellent, extensive Eggstravaganza.
The fun-filled event takes place from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, April 10, on the grounds of the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. Among its festive activities: a petting zoo by Granma's Hug-n-Farm, an appearance by the Easter Bunny, live music, face painting, arts and crafts, and a big traditional breakfast.
A look at the list of sponsors gives you an idea of the grub: T.G. Lee, Jimmy Dean Sausage, Sweet Tomatoes, Wendy's, and Sunoco Convenience Stores.
Unfortunately, this year the eighth annual event won't feature an egg hunt, due to construction in Curtis Hixon Park and the surrounding areas. Sad as that may be, it's better than watching firefighters pull a kid from a cement mixer on the five o'clock news.
Some parting advice for the kids: Don't put all your Easter eggs in one basket.
For more info on this free event, visit tbpac.org.
The Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center is located at 1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa. 800-955-1045.