Photo: Norman Millauer/Getty
A Note from Natalie
Natalie is the resident writer, but not an expert. For expert advice, please book a consultation with Dr Quinn
There’s something unconventional about Easter.
It’s not like other holidays and holy days – sitting there in the calendar in the same spot every year, you have to be ready for Easter to pop up on pretty much any date it likes after the Spring Equinox, and finding out exactly when that will be is a combination of guess work and good old fashioned word of mouth.
Easter is the rogue holiday – the feisty spring surprise party.
It’s the four-day weekend you have to keep a go-bag for!
I love that the reason for this shifting celebratory date is all to do with the moon (originally set 3 days after Passover, its date now is the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox). Purely because it’s so removed from the modern world, and there’s something eccentric about it. In fact pretty much all the symbolism of Easter has a kind of left-of-field, slightly skewed character. What starts with a rather sad remembrance ends with a hedonistic free-for-all… and I like it!
The Moon gazing Hare Spoons from hairygrowler.co.uk
Easter is the Christian celebration of hope. But it’s not just the date that is a throwback to pre-existing traditions – even the Easter Bunny is likely to be an echo of our lunatic past: the hare has long been a symbol of the moon, and the hare’s rabbit cousins popping up out of burrows and breeding like…well, rabbits, holds obvious parallels with emerging from tombs and celebrating new life.
Every culture and religion around the world represents this time of the year as something important.
The gift of an egg during spring festivals as a symbol of new life everywhere goes back to the Persians, Greeks, and Chinese, and they say dying eggs different colours took place in Egypt, Persia, Greece, and Rome. Even in ancient Druid lore, (notoriously sketchy and reliant on eccentric imaginers like the Romans and the Victorians) the eggs of serpents were a sacred symbol for life.
Though your chocolate gifts these days might not hold quite the same delicate sensibilities, you are still partaking in a very, very old tradition.
Whether you connect to the deeper spiritual meanings with this festival or not, there’s one element you can take at face value, which seems to be as old as human thought:
Climb out of your hiding place and embrace life!
So our message this Easter is: get creative with your four days off this weekend.
And be as eccentric as you like! It’s sort of an Easter tradition…
This week’s recipe – offering you a healthier option without missing out on the festive treats!
Cardamon & Apricot Hot Cross Buns
For the crosses:
- Put the spelt flour, coconut palm sugar, yeast, mixed spice, Himalayan salt, and crushed cardamom into a bowl and mix together.
- Wisk the egg, melted butter, almond milk together and slowly mix into the flour mixture. Fold in the chopped apricots till it becomes a dough mixture
- Put into an oiled bowl and put in a very warm place for 1 hour till it has risen.
- Knead the dough for 5-7 minutes continuously and then cut into 8 balls.
- Put them on a lined baking tray and leave to prove for another 20-30 minutes in a warm place.
- Pre-heat oven to 180 deg fan
- To make the white crosses mix together the flour and almond milk. Roll the dough into long sausages or pipe.
- Once the balls have risen put some sugared water over the top and put the white crosses over the top.
- Put the buns in the oven for 15 – 17 minutes until golden.
- Brush again with sugared water to make shiny.
- Serve warm or toasted with delicious sugar-free jams and spreads.