EASTER AROUND THE WORLD
Below are links and explanations about the origins of the artworks you are viewing here at the Luminous Galleries Easter Display.
One-hundred and thirty-six years ago, Tsar Alexander III of Russia commissioned Peter Carl Fabergé
to create a jewelled egg as an Easter gift for his wife, Empress Maria Feodorovna. It was meant to be
a one- time order, but the result was so pleasing that the Tsar immediately placed an order for the following year.
Thus began an annual tradition that his son would adopt when he took the throne and that would continue until the end of the House of Romanovs’ three-century reign, at the outbreak of the
Russian revolution in 1917. The eggs are the rare works of decorative art that offer multiple and
evolving layers of interest.
Fabergé, whose father Gustav founded the eponymous firm, completed a total of 50 eggs for
the royal family, 43 of which are accounted for today. After the first egg he was given creative
control, and from then on details about each new piece were kept secret—even from the Tsar—until
the work’s unveiling.
Fabergé oversaw production, but the eggs were crafted by teams of metalsmiths, jewellers, designers, and other specialists who in turn were given wide artistic latitude. Although the eggs were made from precious materials, their value lay not in the cost of the particular jewels or metals but in the inventiveness and skill the artists brought to each one.
When the Bolsheviks took St. Petersburg, they seized the eggs, selling some of them and holding on to others. Today they sell for tens of millions of dollars.
GUATEMALA: COLOURFUL CARPETS
Cobblestone roads in Antigua, Guatemala, are transformed into colourful carpets to mark Easter. The stunning rainbow-hued pathways are made using coloured sawdust, vegetables and flowers and can stretch up to 800 metres long. Local artists use stencils to create the elaborate patterns and scenes covering traditional and religious themes. Feast your eyes on the display while you can—the Good Friday procession over the carpets will be followed by a clean-up team that’ll sweep up all remnants of the art.
GERMANIC GODDESS OF SPRING
Ostara symbols are related to hope and spring around the world. Ostara or Astara is the Germanic goddess of spring. The gift she brings to the earth is renewal and new life. Her name (also sometimes spelled Eostre) is the root of the spring celebration now known as Easter. Eostre is the
Germanic goddess of dawn who is celebrated during the Spring Equinox. On the old Germanic calendar, the equivalent month to April was called “Ōstarmānod” – or Easter-month. As a holiday, Easter
predates Christianity and was originally the name for Spring Equinox celebrations. More recently has become the Christian celebration of the resurrection of Jesus.
Ostara herself is the goddess of the shining dawn, spring and fertility. She is known to bring joy and blessings to her worshippers. She was worshipped during a month named after her (Eosturmonath). It would have been celebrated on the full moon after the spring equinox.
Etymologists believe there is an older, historical name for Ostara after finding hundreds of inscriptions dating to 150-250 Morken-Harff, Germany. The older name is matron Austriahena, the original name that
evolved into several versions leading to Eostre and Ostara.
1800s scholar, Jacob Grimm, backs up this idea by explaining that pagan traditions must have been so firmly rooted in the culture that the governing church had to tolerate them and adapt them to its society. He uses the ‘Easter egg’ as a specific example, stating preachers used the Heathen-egg tradition to entertain followers by connecting it to Christian stories.
Easter is associated with Christianity and to a pagan Spring festival that dates back long before Christ. The feast day of Easter was first a pagan holiday of renewal and rebirth. Honoured in the early spring, it praised the pagan goddess of fertility and spring known as ‘Ostara’, ‘Eastre’ or ‘Eostre’.
MINNIE MOUSE BUNNY
Minnie loves Easter and dressing up as a big pink cuddly bunny… just for FUN!