I was musing about the news article this past week concerning all the sightings of UFO – Unidentified Flying Objects – over northern Ontario. My mind, taking a leap, I then wondered how many people had seen the Easter Bunny. UFOs and Santa Claus, okay, but the Easter Bunny? And how the heck, and where did the bunny ever get those coloured eggs – hard-boiled, even. Stay with me.
First of all, let us get the UFO thing straight. People actually think they see these flying saucers when they are seeing some light phenomenon, reflection, or refraction, frost in the air, aircraft, satellite, weather balloon, or a meteor. There are no visitors from outer space. Not ones that we can see, anyway. Okay, I admit that Roswell is a good story. In fact, more than a third of Americans are sure aliens exist and as many as 80% think that US government has kept some secret information about UFOs from them.
Excuse me for quoting statistics about Americans but most of the surveys I checked had figures for the United States, not Canada. There are not enough of us to do a reliable survey, I suppose. In any case, it seems we are agreeing with the “Americans” more than ever. Our Prime Minister is certainly in lockstep with Trump. I hope Justin is only cuddling up to American Foreign Policy because he wants our trading partner to look at us with some benevolence, not because he is being a lapdog. Then we have the Conservative Party hopefuls who are looking almost like Trump clones - without the hairdo.
However, back to the UFOs: more than three quarters of Americans believe there are indisputable evidences that aliens have already visited our planet. How else do we explain the Mayan calendar, the Pyramid placement, Stonehenge, Easter Island, and Rex Murphy?
Some of us, and I include the Americans, believe in many strange things: almost a quarter of us believe in reincarnation (i.e. we are convinced we were once another person). Of course, one in four Americans believe that the Sun revolves around the Earth, so reincarnation may not be that far-fetched. As many as 18% of Americans believe that the Earth is the center of the universe so you can see where these rumours get started. Don’t even do a survey about Darwin.
Almost 33% of Americans believe in ghosts and 18% of Americans even claim they have seen some. Before you scoff at these believers, remember that about 76% of us believe in angels. And so I return to the Easter Bunny. How many of us have seen him or her?
First the eggs. Ancient lore has it that the bunny or hare was once a bird. The bird became imperiled one day and an alien, riding on a UFO, changed the bird into a hare to save it. Birds lay eggs, so it may have been a temporary condition that the hares and rabbits laid eggs before being acclimatized to their new form and began having many, many baby bunnies.
The thing with the hard-boiled eggs is much easier and logical to explain. During olden Christian times, many Christians gave up eating eggs during Lent – the period after pancake Tuesday until Good Friday – so they needed to do something for 40 days with the eggs. Chickens did not stop laying eggs during Lent, as the Sisterhood of Eggs Producers had not bargained for that at the time. One way to preserve the eggs was to boil or cook them, keeping them cool until the end of Lent when they could again eat them. To differentiate the eggs for freshness, people began adding coloured leaves or flowers to the boiling water to dye the eggs and the rest is history.
The Easter Egg fad was appartently brought to the Americas by some Germans who when their chickens became unionized and took off the Lenten holiday, began making hollow Hersey chocolate eggs. The story was that the eggs were hollow to represent the cave where the Messiah was buried, but this was not a good sales pitch for children so Kinder started putting little gifts inside the eggs and made a fortune. Cadbury got in on the deal and had the Easter Bunny deliver little foil-wrapped ‘eggs’ sometime after Valentine’s day right through to the week after Easter Monday.
You can see how these things get started. You tell the children these fantastic stories; feed them too much chocolate and they see things in the night sky, years later and believe it was from outer space. Can you imagine the sightings we are going to have after July1 next year when we can enhance our night vision with marijuana?