Happy Easter !
Since the time of the ancient Teutonic world the egg has been regarded as a bringer of luck and symbol of fertility, a joyful gift to celebrate the return of spring.
Although egg painting was known in pre-Christian Greece the custom did not reach Northern Europe until the 17th Century when the Turks conquered Byzantium, causing many of the inhabitants to flee northwards, taking their traditions with them, including the custom of painting eggs.
Written records show that the Easter Bunny as egg bringer first appeared on German soil in 1682, in the company of cockerels, foxes and donkeys, who were all deemed "responsible" for the delivery of eggs. It seems most likely that the rabbit won against the competition because of its high symbolism. Like the egg, the ancient Greeks, Romans and Teutons also revered the rabbit as a symbol of fertility.
The Sun Enters the House of Taurus
He that is born under Taurus shall be strong, hardy, and full of strife. In his youth he will despise every person and be ireful; he shall go on pilgrimage and live among strangers. He shall be rich by women and yet shall experience many pains by women. he shall be grieved by sickness and venom at twenty-three, and in peril of water at thirty-three, and shall live eighty-five years and three months.
The woman shall be effectual, labouring and a great liar. she shall have many husbands and many children. She shall be at her best estate at sixteen years but then sickly, and if she escape, shall live seventy-five years. She ought to bear rings and precious stones about her.
As well man as woman shall be likened to the bull that laboureth the land, but when the seed is sown, he hath but the straw to his part. They shall keep well their own and be reputed unkind.
From The Kalendar of Shepheardes 1604
"If you are planning a dinner party which you foresee as being "sticky", start off with messy shellfish. It's bound to lighten the atmosphere and get the guests talking to each other."
He gave me this advice because I had cooked chicken breasts, stuffed with blue cheese and olive paste and wrapped in Parma ham, the whole thing tied with butchers' string.
I served them in a dish of sauce, decorated with herbs, all of it cooked there and then, while the guests were waiting; a great success and very tasty; if only I had remembered to snip and remove the string before serving.
I can confirm that rushing back to the kitchen for several pairs of scissors, which are then handed round the table, will break any lingering ice as easily as the largest platter of shellfish you care to serve.