Posted by: Jack | April 9, 2007

Easter Cookies

Anna and I felt in no way compelled to celebrate Easter this year but tonight I did get an urge to bake something so I thought it would be fun to make some cut-out sugar cookies with an Easter theme. As I was making the dough and brainstorming shapes, I realized that the Western Christian Easter offered fairly few symbols which could be represented in the cookie media. Basically I came up with an empty cross and Jesus.

But then I started thinking about how Easter is one of the most obvious days of celebration to have been borrowed/assembled from other belief systems which pre-date Christianity. So I quickly came up with some more shapes:

  • Bunny/Hare – an ancient and modern symbol of fertility, birth, Spring, etc.
  • The Goddess Eostre – the Germanic goddess of Spring whose name was pronounced as we pronounce Easter and is the most likely origin for the title of the Christian holiday.
  • Attis – the Pagan character whose life was a near mirror image of Jesus Christ’s but was documented centuries prior to the supposed existence of Jesus. It is believed his story was grafted upon Jesus’s as an attempt to make Christianity more acceptable to the large Pagan populations.
  • The sun and moon – Important symbols in any equinox-related holiday. The current date of Easter in Western Christian churches is the first Sunday (pre-Egyption day-of-sun) after the first full moon after the Spring equinox.
  • Castration – an event that played a very significant role in the life of Attis.

While researching some of these other symbols I came across an interesting series of facts. The mother of Attis, Cybele, was worshipped as a deity for numerous centuries. Another name often used in reference to the same entity was simply Domina which meant “the Lady”. After Attis’s death, Cybele was given credit for his resurrection which was celebrated on March 25th of each year. In the Christian Church, March 25th is honored as “Lady Day” but under the premise that this date preceeds the birth of Jesus by exactly nine months and would therefore be the day of Jesus’s miraculous conception.

And now the cookies are done and I’m pretty happy with how they turned out. After some deliberation, I decided not to try and create a castration shaped cookie. As you’ll probably suspect, the cookies are photoshopped onto the platter in each picture. It just looks better than the original images of them on a drying rack.

This first one is of the more traditional Easter icons. I think we all have to admit that my bunny is pretty impressive.

Next we have the major symbols of any equinox-related event.

The life-like representations below are Attis and his mother, Cybele. If you like, the one on the left can also be Jesus since they are basically the same character.

Here is a nice big generic flower; possibly a tulip.

Of all the symbols mentioned and pictured, surely these last are the most closely tied to the reality of new life and birth since they represent nature without any regard to culture. I was pretty happy with the fetus.

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