Spring things you might not know

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Don’t look now, but spring has come again. Did you know that spring is a great season for lots of people? Spring has a little something for everybody. Spring brings blossoms and romance, and that is why the floral industry loves spring. It also brings income tax filing, which is why the accountants and tax preparers love spring.

And then there’s hay fever, spring fever and allergies, all good for the pharmaceutical business. For Christians, spring brings Easter; for Jewish people Passover. A good time for both religions to celebrate. The egg is a symbol of life and it plays an important part in both the Jewish and Christian spring celebrations. So the egg industry loves spring too.

… the exact origins of the Easter Bunny are clouded in mystery.

Spring wasn’t such a wonderful time for one of America’s greatest presidents, however. Abraham Lincoln was assassinated during Passover. According to the American Jewish Historical Society, many Jewish people were in synagogue for the holiday when news of the assassination spread. The society’s website states, “The synagogue altars were quickly draped in black and, instead of Passover melodies, the congregations chanted Yom Kippur hymns. Rabbis set aside their sermons and wept openly at their pulpits, as did their congregants.”

Spring definitely has its darker sides. While springtime brings flowers and warmer weather, it may be the worst time for human babies to be born. A large-scale study found that babies born in the spring are more likely to develop schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression and anorexia.

Want some more bad news about spring? Studies show that suicide rates peak during the late spring and not during the winter holidays, as is commonly believed. Spring also means a rebirth of annoying bugs everywhere. Much of the time the weather can’t seem to figure out if it wants to be warm or cold, so it’s almost impossible to dress for it. And spring is tornado season.

Did you ever wonder what the Easter Bunny has to do with eggs, let alone Christianity? Well, the exact origins of the Easter Bunny are clouded in mystery. One theory is that the symbol of the rabbit stems from pagan tradition, specifically the festival of Eostre—a goddess of fertility whose animal symbol was a bunny. Makes sense, since rabbits are known for their energetic breeding and have traditionally symbolized fertility throughout history.

But what’s the deal with the Easter Bunny delivering eggs? Well, it seems to be a German invention. According to some sources, the Easter Bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws.”

The German immigrants’ children made nests in which this very strange creature could lay its colored eggs. Now let’s stop and analyze this thing. First of all, rabbits don’t lay colored eggs, and they don’t lay white eggs. Rabbits don’t lay any kind of eggs, period. Rabbits make rabbits the old-fashioned way; they develop embryos inside a uterus like most other mammals. Leave it to the Germans to dream this one up. I wonder what they were smoking back then.

But wait. It gets crazier.

Most of us think of the Easter Bunny as a male rabbit with that cute little bowtie, right? “Here comes Peter Cottontail, hopping down the bunny trail, “ as Gene Autry sang back in the ‘50s. So explain how this bowtie-wearing male rabbit is laying eggs? Colored eggs yet! What’s that all about? Is he transgendered? Is he secretly a cross-dressing female rabbit? Or maybe we should chalk up the male pregnancy and egg-laying mammal thing to just another New Testament miracle, like the Immaculate Conception.

Hey, nothing wrong with miracles. If God, through Moses, can part the Red Sea then I guess maybe a male rabbit can lay colored eggs.

If ever there was a season of miracles, spring is the one. It’s the time of new growth, rebirth, freedom and looking ahead to the future. Could there be a more profound example of this than the story of Passover? For the Jewish people, Passover, the story of the Exodus, is literally the festival of miracles. Of course Christians have the miracle of the Resurrection. For each it signals new beginnings and divine hope.

Happy springtime to us all.

Greg Crosby is a writer and cartoonist and former executive at the Walt Disney Company.  

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