by Stuart Littlewood

First published 16 April 2022

Forget Ukraine for a moment. Easter is a time to focus on the Holy Land, what happened there in AD33 or whatever date you believe to have been Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, and what’s happening there now. It’s not pretty.

The place is awash with war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against the indigenous Muslim and Christian population by (mostly) east European invaders with no ancestral claim. Western governments aren’t loudly demanding investigations by the International Criminal Court… but mention Putin and Ukraine and they go ballistic.

Meanwhile, Easter in the UK is all about bunnies and searching for chocolate eggs. What Easter message do kids get from that? They’re lavished with eggs and other treats whether they’ve been good or not.

Eggs of course are an ancient fertility symbol and became associated with Christianity to represent rebirth. In medieval times eating eggs was prohibited during Lent but people gave children eggs as a special treat just before the fasting began. They were often hand-decorated or boiled with vegetables to make them colourful.

The ‘Easter bunny’ traditionally originated with a hare which was said to be the sacred creature of a Saxon goddess of Spring called Eastre. But the popularity of Peter Rabbit is due to the bedtime story character called Peter Cottontail dreamed up by American author Thornton Burgess in his ‘Old Mother West Wind’ series around 1910. Peter Rabbit changes his surname to Cottontail for a while to make himself sound more important but later drops it. How Peter Rabbit morphed into the Easter Bunny, giving the poor hare the elbow, isn’t entirely clear. But the prodigious reproduction rate of rabbits, producing large litters of ‘kittens’, turned them into a fertility symbol too; and as there were so many of them they became the army of egg deliverers rewarding supposedly well-behaved children at Easter-time.

It doesn’t surprise me in the least to hear that there’s an app which allows kids to call the Easter Bunny for a “sweet phone conversation” and so they can “score major cool parent points for having the Easter Bunny phone number”. If you buy the posh version of the app you can get the Easter Bunny to call you…. beyond cool then.

At the serious end of the Easter scale, while in Ramallah I watched the ‘Bringing of the Fire’, an Easter tradition among the churches of Palestine. On Holy Saturday, the day before Orthodox Easter, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem enters the tomb of the Holy Sepulchre. After a moment of prayer, he emerges with the Holy Fire which, every year, is emitted from Christ’s tomb. This is passed on by candle to the gathered faithful and spontaneously lights up the whole church as if by magic.

From there, with shouts of “Christ is risen”, the Holy Fire symbolising the miracle of resurrection is spread to all the churches of this land, taken to Greece and spread to all countries having a significant Greek Orthodox presence throughout the world – including Ukraine. In Ramallah it involved a seemingly endless, colourful and noisy parade of young and old with much trumpet-blowing and drum banging, a good time being had by all…. within the cruel apartheid limits imposed by a vicious military occupation.

Stuart Littlewood
15 April 2022

Porcelain Easter eggs


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  1. @Scaliger
    “The Ottomans who ruled Jerusalem from 1538 to 1917 never had the shape, size or name of a “Palestine” but rather Syrian Galilee and Syrian Judea.”
    So, no name of a “Palestine”. Alas, story about Jerusalem is no better.
    First: Authentic, genuine chistian documents of the first centuries do not exist. Only Apocryphs.
    Second: Let us see what does the Bible(mandate for Palestine according to Chaim Weizmann) say to this effect – books Exodus, Levit, Numbers and Deuteronomy – the word ‘Jerusalem’ never mentioned.
    Third: Pagan writers – Egyptian, Babilonian, Hellenic and Latin – the word Jerusalem nevr mentioned. Only Aelia Capitolina and Al-Quds.
    Seems like stupid and gullible indo-arians beleived Jews.
    ירו־שלם (IRU-SHLM) -???

  2. Ukraine is not going anywhere. Everyone is already tired of them.
    I congratulate my comrades in the West on the upcoming Easter. Peace and good to you, dear friends!
    In Russia, we will have Easter in a week, on April 24 this year. We don’t have an Easter bunny, but we paint eggs and children have many different games and competitions with these eggs. Easter is a good, bright holiday.

  3. Roman General Pilate reported to Rome from Jerusalem – the Capitol of Judea, and his peer Roman General (unnamed) reported to Rome from Caesarea – the Capitol of the Galilee, i.e. no-intermediary framework along the chain of command i.e. Syria wasn’t involved, let alone to P-tine ever mentioned.
    The Ottomans who ruled Jerusalem from 1538 to 1917 never had the shape, size or name of a “Palestine” but rather Syrian Galilee and Syrian Judea (eventually an Ottoman autonomous district.
    According to the Arab-Jewish agreement from 1919, Appendix-D of the Versailles treaty, the British-carved “Palestine” is a national homeland only for the Jews while the Arabs remain fully-granted citizens:
    In 1926, when the Jesuit-order published Mein-Kampf, its siblings the UK Lords fabricated a P-dentity in order to foment strife and murder thousands of Jews e.g. in August-September 1929 and 1936 – within the larger Arab revolt against UK throughout the M.E.

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