Chocolate addicts worldwide are waiting in eager anticipation for the next celebration feast – EASTER!
Chocolate bunnies, chocolate chicks, chocolate eggs…yes supermarkets & the like resemble Willy Wonka pop up stores at this time of year & why not? Last year Americans spent in excess of USD18.4billion over Easter & Brits GBP3.9 billion - it’s a chocolate frenzy!
Although there is no denying the sweet decadence of chocolate, an ever-increasing number of us are choosing to refrain from sugar gluttony due to research results proving the negative health effects of sugar over indulgence. Which begs the question – what gift is befitting of Easter if not chocolate?
Historically, this time of year has been a celebration of new life, rebirth and the continuation of life in the northern hemisphere, the origin of most of our traditions.
Easter falls on the 1st Sunday after the 1st full moon after the spring equinox. This follows the lunar calendar which explains why Easters date changes year to year. Most of our celebrations follow Gregorian sun guided calendar.
In pagan times the spring equinox signalled the end of the icy winter signs of the new life of spring would begin to appear.
For Christians, Easter, of course, celebrates the resurrection of Jesus.
Gifts with themes of new life & continuity of life are the ticket – plants are a perfect fit.
Chocolate may grow on trees, well, the main ingredient does at least, but is far too challenging to grow away from its tropical home.
Other plants also make an ideal Easter gift though. Deciduous trees, the flamboyant Crepe Myrtle for example, epitomize rebirth & new life. When the weather turns cold they drop their leaves only to burst into life again, like a phoenix, at the first sign of spring warmth.
A Peace Lily or Chinese Star Jasmine can be appreciated for many years, new flowers bloom whilst others fade, a living analogy of life, fitting of the Easter spirit.
Feijoa trees are fabulous chocolate egg substitutes. Offering a reliable glut of oval shaped aromatic, sweet fruit from March to June here in NZ, no back yard is complete without couple of these beauties.
Kids would go crazy to wake & find a Easter egg tree in the yard. Simply tie wrapped Easter eggs to string & hang in a tree. Using a feijoas tree adds a healthy ‘egg’ to their baskets along with the chocolate variety.