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  • Gloria Hoffner

Easter Science - How does a chick breath through the shell?

Easter, the celebration of the Risen Christ, is April 12, 2020. Did you ever wonder why the date changes every year? Why do we dye eggs? How does a chick breath through the egg? Here are fun facts and an experiment to do with your residents.

1) Why is Easter a different date each year? Answer - Easter's exact date varies so much because it actually depends on the moon. Christian Holy Thursday is The Last Supper of Jesus, and with his disciples, was the Jewish celebration of Passover. The Jewish calendar is based on the moon while the Christian calendar is based on the sun. To align Easter with Passover, this is the formula – Easter is always the first Sunday, after the first full moon, after the Spring equinox.

2) Why do we dye eggs to celebrate Easter? Answer – During the Middle Ages when eggs were precious food, and not available for $2.45 at any grocery story, to celebrate Easter family and friends gave each other eggs. They wrapped their egg gift in flower petals. Thus, the colored Easter eggs represent the colors of flower petals.

3) Why do Christians use eggs to celebrate Easter? Answer – The chick breaking out of the egg symbolizes Christ breaking free of the tome.

4) Why is there an Easter bunny? Answer – The bunny celebrates fertility and new life, thus for Christians new life in Christ.

5) Why do we wear new clothes on Easter? Answer – Christians wear new clothes to celebrate putting on a new life in Christ.

6) Why do we have candy and hot cross buns on Easter? Answer - The bun marks the end of Lent, the Christian 40 days of fasting. The cross represents the crucifixion of Jesus, and the spices inside signifying the spices used to embalm him at his burial.

7) Why do we have chocolate Easter bunnies? Answer - The Easter Bunny, or, as it was traditionally known, the Osterhase, comes from Germany. Ancient pagan Germans believed to be the pet of fertility goddess Ostara. The Osterhase was known to lay eggs and was a symbol of rebirth. The influx of German immigrants to Pennsylvania in the early 18th century is thought to be how that tradition of associating a bunny with the arrival of spring gained traction in the Americas.

8) Why do we have jelly beans? Answer - The jelly bean linked to the ancient Middle Eastern treat, Turkish Delight. That candy has a firm gel consistency and is often filled with nuts or fruit. It is thought that this delicacy, combined with the hard exterior coating of Jordan Almonds are how the first jelly beans were developed. Since the candies have an egg-like shape, and eggs are a symbol of rebirth, jelly beans became firmly entrenched in Easter traditions in the 1930s.

9) Why do we have Easter egg hunts? Answer - They are believed to have also stemmed from pagan traditions, when the German Christian’s brought their Osterhase to Pennsylvania they brought Easter egg hunts.

10) Why are the Easter baskets? Answer – German children believed that an Easter bunny would lay eggs for them if they built a bunny a ‘nest’ out of grass that they could leave the eggs in.

11) Why do we eat ham on Easter? Answer - Pigs were usually slaughtered in the fall, when it’s chilly outside and the cold could keep the meat fresh during the several days it would take to break down and prepare the hog. Come late spring, before the first new foods sprout or livestock have been birthed, a ham could well remain in the cold cellar.

12) Why do we eat lamb on Easter? Answer - Lamb is actually the more traditional meat offering at Easter because it represents Christ as the Lamb of God. In the early years of Christianity, Christians continued many Jewish traditions, which would include the Passover lamb. Ham became popular much later, perhaps as late as the final quarter of the 19th century in American because it was more available.

13) When did the White House Easter Egg Roll begin? Answer - The White House Easter Egg Roll officially dates back to 1878 and the presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes, but first-hand accounts suggest that informal festivities began with egg rolling parties under President Abraham Lincoln.

14) Why is there an Easter Egg Roll? Answer – The Easter Egg Roll symbolizes the rolling away of the rock at Christ tome. The White House egg roll itself involves rolling a hard-boiled colored egg on the lawn with a large serving spoon. For participating, each child is given a commemorative wooden Easter egg signed by the President and First Lady. The White House Easter Egg roll is held on the Monday after Easter.

15) Why do we celebrate with Easter lilies? Answer - Easter lilies started with a pagan fertility celebration of Spring. The shape of the flower was associated with the reproductive organs, and therefore with fertility.

16) Why are there Easter candles? Answer - Pagans would light bonfires to welcome the rebirth of the sun God. Christians now celebrate the Easter Vigil service. The Paschal candle is the large, white candle used in liturgies in the Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Communion, Lutheran churches, among others. A new Paschal candle is blessed and lit every year at Easter, and is used throughout the Paschal season which is during Easter and then throughout the year on special occasions, such as baptisms and funerals.

Experiment: How does a chick breath through the egg shell?

Materials: Fresh egg, vinegar and clear ice tea glass.

Process: Fill the glass ¾ full with white vinegar. Place the egg in the glass and observe.

Result: You will see lots of tiny bubbles form on the egg shell. This is the air passing through the tiny openings in the shell. These openings allow oxygen and carbon dioxide to pass through the shell as the chick grows inside.

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