Suffolk Humanists

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Posted by Margaret on Friday, Apr 2, 2004

BlossomMy mother used to recite a daft poem at this time of year: “The spring has sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where the birdies is?” Tennyson was a little more eloquent when he wrote, “In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.”

I don’t know about thoughts of love, but there’s definitely something in the air at this time of year, besides pollen. I heard something on the news the other day about fertility treatment for childless couples. Apparently you have more chance of conceiving during the summer months, when the days are longer and lighter. They haven’t worked out the science bit yet, but why should we humans be that different from other species, most of whom breed in the spring and early summer? Now that April’s here, the birds are nesting, the buds are bursting, the grass is growing and there are ducks wandering along the lanes, looking for nest sites, oblivious to the traffic. The natural world is all fecundity and renewal.

The origins of the spring festival of Easter go back much farther than the Christian festival called by the same name. The name is believed to derive from the name of a Teutonic goddess of spring, Ostera. The Easter egg, and the Easter bunny (which always used to be a hare, not a rabbit) are obvious symbols of fertility. The festival used to take place at about the time of the Spring Equinox at the end of March, the first of two days each year when day and night are of equal length, and we change our clocks.

You don’t actually need to know about goddesses or myths or bunnies and hares to enjoy the arrival of spring, and I don’t need any excuse to enjoy chocolate Easter eggs. It’s good to shed a few layers of clothing and open the windows. It’s good to see things growing, even if it does mean you’re going to have to get the mower out again. If your fancy turns to thoughts of love, why not? “The flowers that bloom in the Spring, tra-la”, and all that! Happy Easter!

Bill Potts from the Humanist Association of the Greater Sacramento Area say that this is the original, Brooklynese, version of the Easter poem.

Spring is sprung;
De grass is riz.
I wonder where de boidies is.
De boid is on de wing.
Why dat’s absoid,
Cuz everybody knows
De wing is on de boid.

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