Wednesday, 20 April 2011

A Bun in the Oven

Hot Cross Buns

The things you learn...

Easter is not an especially Christian word. English-speaking Christians adapted it from a pagan festival that was already celebrated in April in their neck of the woods; they kept the name, but dropped the fertility goddess Eostre. It’s thought that this is why those Easter bunnies keep breeding each year, despite the vigorous efforts of countless children to exterminate them - they, along with their eggs, are fertility symbols that were held over from the old festival. Easter is after all about new life, so the symbols still worked, even if in a different way.

A fertility goddess named Eostre - well, it made me wonder about oestrogen, the hormone that’s so crucial in enabling women to bear children. Surely the
term came from the same source. And that, of course, made possible the delightful pun at the top of this article. Unfortunately, my guess was wrong. Oestrogen comes from the Greek term for gadfly or madness.

Don’t blame me, the Internet said it, so it must be true!

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