Friday, 10 April 2009

Easter trees

Today is Good Friday – always a quiet day for me and one on which I feel I should be spending some time in church, though I never do. Out walking with the dogs I found myself singing a hymn from my childhood – 'There is a green hill, far away . . . ' I never understood until I was grown up what 'without a city wall' meant. Why should a hill have a city wall? It was strange how quickly the words came back to me. I must have sung it a few times as a teacher though I cannot recall doing so, since most of my career was spent with younger children.

I had never heard of Easter trees until I saw them mentioned on a blog and then, when I did some cursory research I discovered that, like Christmas trees (thank you, Prince Albert) the custom comes from Germany. I thought it was such a pretty idea that I had to try it out, though it's rather too close to Easter – I should have started with a bare twig or two six weeks ago. I went shopping for decorations and though I really wanted fluffy chicks I ended up with painted eggs, pig (!) paper clips and a rabbit that more resembles a hare appropriately enough for the British Isles. Nonetheless they are all symbols of renewal - not quite sure about the pigs; I think they represent Easter Sunday lunch more than anything! Similarly, I'm not sure where a duck on eggs fits in; maybe it's another European custom, though I can see where the Easter poisson of France comes in as Ichthus is an early Christian symbol and is often to be seen in lapels, on car stickers, as brooches for believers.

The Easter tree has proved to be a source of fascination for the cats but I think I'll continue the custom next year.

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