Easter used to be an ordinary Bank Holiday, four days off in a row that’d see millions of us driving hundreds of miles to take an early spring break. Millions of us still drive hundreds of miles at Easter, but just as many stay home, avoid the traffic altogether and just… relax!
These days Easter is fast becoming another family occasion much like Christmas, where people get together for feasting and partying. If you’re staying home and holding an alfresco celebration – weather willing – here’s some insight into the ancient roots of Easter, plus some very cool ideas for spring cocktails and snacks.
Easter’s pagan roots
Bunnies and eggs are both ancient symbols of new life, and plenty of the pagan customs and symbols associated with celebrating spring were taken over by Christianity as symbols of the resurrection. Rabbits and hares are also associated with fertility, both linking to the goddess Eostre, also called Ostara, Austra, and Eastre.
Why does Easter move?
Easter happens on the first Sunday following the full moon after the March equinox, which means it falls on a different date every year and also falls on different dates around the world, thanks to churches in the west using the Gregorian calendar and those in the east using the Julian calendar.
Simple spring cocktails and snacks – Fab booze!
Following on from our hot alcoholic drinks feature last winter, here are three of the finest spring cocktails to enjoy as you stand around your chiminea. Plus ten very easy spring snacks to delight your guests.
The rich, tangy ginger and sage spring cocktail
- 1 bottle of Prosecco
- 250ml honey
- 750ml water
- Peel, core and dice 2 large pears
- Peel and dice one large chunk of fresh ginger
- Grab some fresh sage leaves
Heat the honey and water in a pan until it comes to a light boil. Simmer until the honey has dissolved then add your pears, ginger and sage. Simmer for another 20 minutes then let the mixture cool for ten minutes before straining the liquid into a bowl. Filter out the leaves and ginger, then put a piece of sliced pear into each glass, add the Prosecco, and garnish your drink with fresh sage leaves.
The super-easy tequila honey spring cocktail
- 60ml tequila
- 20ml honey
- 20ml fresh lime juice
This one’s super-simple: just add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake it with ice, then garnish the drinks with chunky lime wedges.
The wonderfully zingy spring grapefruit mojito
A simply syrup made from sugar and water in equal quantities, boiled until the sugar dissolves
Lots of fresh mint
4 tablespoons of lime juice
60ml white rum
60ml fresh grapefruit juice
120ml of fizzy water
Make some simply syrup. Mix in the fresh mint and lime juice and mash them together gently to release the flavours. Fill up each glass with crushed ice. Pour in the rum and grapefruit juice, stir it, fill to the brim with fizzy water and garnish with mint leaves.
10 delish spring-like snacks for your alfresco buffet
- Freeze some grapes! Really – they’re amazing frozen, a real treat on a warm spring day. You can even use them to replace ice in your cocktails
- Freeze some yoghurt – it’s amazing with fresh berries and fresh cream
- Make roll-ups! Grab some sliced ham, cook some asparagus, roll the cooked asparagus inside the ham, melt some blue cheese on top
- Slice up a load of fresh veggies and eat them with hummus or home made salsa
- Make a huge bean salad, adding lots of well-cooked broken-up bacon as a crunchy garnish on top
- Make peanut butter and banana ice creams – warm up some peanut butter, slice some bananas and use them to garnish vanilla ice cream
- Tomato and olive salad – cube a load of tomatoes, slice a load of black and green olives, toss them in a salad dressing, add fresh oregano
- Roast a load of nuts and seeds with a scattering of salt then eat them with chunks of dark chocolate
- Devil some eggs! Boil them, cut them in half, mix the yolk with mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper, then spoon it back into the half-whites
- Make a very easy hot prawn and pasta salad: fresh prawns, capers, cold pasta, plus a generous dash or two of Tabasco
Are you ready to party? Let’s hope the sun plays nice!
Photo by Luke Bender