Bunny & Jelly Beans!

Bunny & Jelly Beans!

Around the Bluhmin’ Town


Judy Bluhm

Which came first? The Easter bunny or the egg? Evidently, the floppy eared hare first arrived in America with German immigrants in the 1700s. The egg-laying mythical rabbit was called “Osterhase” and children made nests around Easter time so the rabbit could lay its candy eggs. It appears we Americans like our chocolate bunnies because we consume about 60 million of them every year!

I recall as a child, hiding a big chocolate rabbit in a dresser drawer. This was to keep my brother from eating an ear or biting off the tail. Don’t put chocolate (with no wrapping) in your undie’s drawer because the mess is quite horrible. When I confessed to my chocolate sin, my mother said it would have been better to share, than to be stingy. Or sneaky. So true.

Eggs definitely came first before the Easter bunnies. Decorating eggs dates back to the Trypillian cultures living in the region of Central Europe in 4500 BC, when eggs were dyed in beautiful colors. In medieval times, eggs were forbidden to be eaten during Lent (40 days before Easter). They were considered a special treat on Easter Sunday. Fast forward to 2024 and Americans will dye 180 million eggs for Easter Sunday. We better start now.

Don’t panic, but there might be a jellybean shortage. These little beans of glorious sweetness were invented by a candymaker named William Schrafft, who promoted sending jellybeans to soldiers in the Union Army during the Civil War. They became a popular penny candy in 1900 and by the 1930s, jellybeans became associated with Easter. Many stores advertised that the Easter Bunny brought jellybeans as a sign of new life.

Last year, confection makers ran low on pectin and starch. World-wide supplies of jellybeans were so diminished that many stores didn’t carry them. This year, the supply has increased, but still not to the satisfaction of the masses who crave these delightful, sugary, colorful reminders that life is good. How do we love our jellybeans? In a world filled with people who agree on very little, we are united in our love of “the bean.” Fifteen billion of these little gems are produced each year. That is enough to circle our planet five times! Still, we want more!

Remember when folks used to dress up on Easter Sunday? The greatest fashion shows in the world were not in Paris, Milan, or New York City, but in churches all across America. Women wore their finest dresses, hats, gloves, new shoes and a corsage. Today, churches encourage people to just “show up” and dress casually. But part of the splendor of Easter was in those amazing outfits we wore. Easter marks the most sacred of Christian holidays. “He has risen,” are the three most profound words in the bible, laying the foundation for rebirth and the promise of eternal life.

The Season of Hope, Bunnies and Eggs is approaching. Easter represents Spring, in all its glory. Dress up, get some flowers, dye a few dozen eggs, and enjoy a chocolate bunny. This week, let’s be reminded to share our sweetness with others, one jellybean at a time.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Contact Judy at [email protected] or visit www.aroundthebluhmintown.com.

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