These days, for many of us, Easter is associated more with an Easter bunny bearing little chocolate eggs than its original religious celebrations. Sometimes the bunny is, in fact, a Hare, in real life an entirely different animal, which apparently originates from German folklore where it has a role rather like Santa Claus and is called the Osterhase. Good children receive gifts of coloured eggs in the nests that they made in their Easter bonnets.
Some twelve years ago we began to create an Easter trail and over time it had grown in to a day out for those who live locally. Paul Mac (from the car parking team) kindly offered to become Highclere’s Easter bunny during this weekend’s Easter egg hunt. Given he could not see out of the costume very well, he was squired round the gardens by various of the office girls who also carried the basket of coloured chocolate eggs and they were instantly popular whereever they stood, for both photographs and chocolates.
I think everyone, at any age, rather likes a treasure hunt and, at the end of Highclere’s trail which involved a good walk with an accompanying questionnaire and a sharp pencil, every child received an Easter egg. There was also a bouncy castle and slide which, at the end of a long and tiring day, was a bit of a release for team Highclere to indulge in as well.
At 12.30, the Easter bonnet parade was an impossible choice. Every entrant received an egg for their efforts but there were so many works of art that, in the end, I recruited twelve judges to help me with the prize giving for the various categories. The twelve judges comprised three princesses, four stormtroopers, the Policeman on Stilts, Sarah Parish, Jim Murray, the Easter Bunny and myself. Quite a collection!
These were all part of the kind team who came together to help create a fabulous family day out at the heart of which were Sarah and Jim, the founders of the Murray Parish Trust which was our charity for the day. They are an amazing couple, professional actors in real life, who raise money for the practical support of children affected by major trauma at key hospitals not far from here.
As is usual with most cultures, Easter is a mixture of folklore and religion. Eggs were associated with spring and with new life and are therefore often decorated in shades of green to represent the new foliage emerging after winter. Early Christians adapted this idea and the egg became a symbol of the resurrection: the empty shell a metaphor for the tomb of Jesus closed by an impossibly large stone. The following morning, however, Mary finds it rolled back, nothing is impossible.
For some countries, Easter is the most important celebration in the Christian calendar with the hope of the resurrection of Christ being given greater prominence than his birth at Christmas. It is a strong tradition in Ukraine where all our thoughts are at the moment, praying for peace and a cessation of hostilities so that the land and communities can be resurrected and rebuilt.
Whoever we are and where ever we find ourselves, at this time of Easter and the Passover and the celebration of Ramadan, may everyone may find hope and peace.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Once again many thanks for your beautifully written & thought-provoking blog, I so wish I could have been there to join in the Easter celebrations @ Highclere, it looked such fun in the sun!
Happy Easter & Happy Spring to you & all your lovely people,
Good Morning, Lady Carnarvon and Staff,!
My early memories of Easter morning was, are parents just got us are first dog and cat.
My parents, never having pets in the family was not aware of some of the precautions that goes along with animals and holidays.
They, never thinking of the dog and the cats desires to ALSO celebrate the holiday, put ALL of the baskets on the floor. Well, the dog and the cat ate ALL of the chocolate.
Easter morning, the dog looked like he just went into diabetic shock, and the cat looked like he just polished off a quart of ” Jamison’s” holiday Spirits.
Needless to say, all that was left for my mother to do was to put fresh “Rolaids” in all of the mint dishes, and hope and pray for the best.
Well, that is the extent of my Easter memories and never spoke of it again.
I hope that ALL of your Easter readers enjoyed my walk down my memory lane.
You ALL have a GREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAT Day!
John L. Roberts
Lady Carnarvon lovely the pictures of Easter bunny you and lord Carnarvon have a nice Easter weekend l love Downton abbey
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Happy Easter and blessings to you, his Lordship and team Highclere. It seems the team pulled off a spectacular Easter celebration and that all who attended had a wonderful time.
Yes they all had a wonderful time!
Such a fun celebration. Well done Team Highclere.
Wonderful write-up and beautiful pictures. Thank you again for sharing how wonderful Easter weekend was for you all there. Blessed for sure! Remain well going forward.
Hippedy Hop, Hippedy Hop Lady Carnarvon
The Blessings of Easter to you and Lord Carnarvon and all our chatters around the world who join us. Different countries, different tradtions but the exact same message we all recognise. We prayed for Ukraine and its people and our little Sunday School darlings (aged 3 to 5) sang a special Hymn for Ukraine……….”Jesus loves me yes I know……….”. Lovely service and a lovely day.
I hope you had a funfilled time with all those children (and those acting like children) with plenty of laughter and much chocolate enjoyed by all. It is a time for children to have the fun of an Easter Egg hunt and parents to look after those chocolate eaters who had too much.
Our local church here did something a little different this year. One of our parishioners who is also a Vetinarian asked could we please not use chocolate eggs for the hunt because dogs and most animals should not eat chocolate and can become quite ill. Instead we used brightly coloured plastic egg shaped replicas to hide and when the children brought their baskets to our official egg counter they exchanged them for small of baskets of eggs……….all the same of course! The Vet explained to the children why we were using plastic eggs then the hunt began in earnest. Much laughter and hilarity later there were no complaints about their “goodies” and all very happy with their hoard.
Everyone stay safe and well and remember the message of Easter throughout the year
Amen to that sentiment! Here in Doylestown Pennsylvania we’re having superb Spring weather, matching the Good News of Easter. Have a wonderful season!
Thank you once again for story and pictures of a beautiful Easter at Highclere. On this Holy Day it is so disheartening to know that we are so blessed with peace while our Ukraine kin are struggling to survive. May we pray that God be with each and every one of His children during this period of resurrection and new life. Best to you and all that you and your wonderful family do for others.
Thank you so much for these wonderful pieces!
Good Easter Monday
Thank you once again for such a wonderful story.
The pictures are so exciting to see. Every one look like they are having so much fun
Hope that you and your family enjoyed your Easter.
Kathleen from Canada
We did thank you!
What a lovely way to raise funds for such a worthy cause.
We lived in Greece for four years, and you are SO right, it is the annual celebration of the Greek Orthodox year, much more so than Christmas.
However, what struck me most was the way you skillfully wove in a mention of Ukraine, a country whose people so many have come to admire for their courage under insufferable odds.
Once again, thank you. I do hope you can take today off and rest.
Bonnie in SW Alabama
Murray Parish Trust is a really good charity – it makes a difference when most needed
Happy Easter and the Lord’s blessings to everyone. From all of us here on the coast of Southern New Jersey, USA
Happy Easter to you too!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Congratulations on organising and hosting what appears to have been a joyful celebration of Easter. Well done!
Wishing a Happy and Safe Easter to you, your family, all @ Highclere and the Monday Family of Bloggers. May each of you and your loved ones live in the gladness and grace of Easter Sunday, every day.
Thank you Jeffery
PS I am uncertain if this link will properly appear on your Blog, but here is a beautiful and moving variation of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”
– An Easter Hallelujah, sung by Cassandra Star & her sister Callahan:
Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for the link.
Thank you for sharing this. How beautiful!
Mindy in Central Alabama
Great article and pictures. Hope you had a happy Easter!
Wonderful – Thank you!
Good Morning, Lady Carnarvon
Its looks like so much fun and beauty. Wish I could have been there.
Happy Easter and good wishs to you and your staff.
Happy belated Easter Greetings, from, Iowa, USA. Looks like you had a lovely day with great weather and lots of friends. Where I live, it snowed. Seemed odd to wear a pastel suit with a coat when I went to church, but considering what the people in Ukraine are enduring, I can’t really complain about a little snow. Thank you for your poignant thoughts at the end. However, I still would have loved to have been at Highclere.
Lovely! Thank you for sharing information on the German tradition. Hats off to everyone who clearly worked hard to put on such a special event. I hope to visit one day.
Thank you – you are ight – it was a lot of effort from team Highclere and I am so grateful to them
Dear Lady Carnarvon, thanks for your fascinating Bunny’s story. May Easter bring hope, overcome suffering and realize what seems impossible .
“Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,Though foolishly he lost the same, Decaying more and more, Till he became Most poore: With thee O let me rise As larks, harmoniously, And sing this day thy victories.”( Easter Wings by G. Herbert ,1633)
Greetings to Mr Bunny!
What a wonderful event and it looks like you were blessed with wonderful weather!
Thank you – we were lucky with the weather
Good morning, Lady Carnarvon! Looks like a beautiful day at Highclere, beautiful pictures! My church in the US, has an egg hunt annually, similar to yours, and we feature a story time after the egg hunt. This story features Resurrection Eggs, which are colored plastic eggs that each contain a small symbol of the resurrection of Christ by which the story unfolds as each egg is opened and the symbol explained. Such a great way to share the story with young and old alike, who may not be familiar with the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf. We invite the neighborhood and friends, like your hunt, to share the true meaning of Easter! Thank you for your wonderful stories of life at Highclere! Have a great week!
A most Happy Easter! What a beautiful sunny and fun full day you had!
Happy Blessed Easter, to you Lady Carnarvon and all!
Thank You for your lovely blog and taking the precious time to write about the Easter fun.
I loved the beautiful, coloured pictures and it would have been jolly fun to be there.
Your blogs are a favorite time to sit back with a cup of tea and to just relax and to enjoy your writing. It is so relaxing to be taken to a different special place ie. Highclere and to just enjoy being a part of someone’s else’s life. Take Care and write on!
Thank you for your kind comments
Thank you for mentioning the reason for the season! It’s a cute holiday for young children but as they grow older, it’s good for them to understand the reason we celebrate Easter. How festive and joyful your Easter must have been! Happy Easter!
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
Thank you for your entertaining Monday blog. Everyone looked so cheerful in their Spring colors without having to wear coats and jackets. Here in Southeastern Michigan, we were blessed with beautiful, but cold weather on Easter Sunday so; everyone’s attire followed suit. Unfortunately, today we are continuing to experience an even starker contrast in weather as a wet snow (up to three inches is expected) has been added to the mix.
From the photographs accompanying your story, it appears that the fundraiser for the Murray Parish Trust went well.
Our religious aspect: at Easter Sunday Mass, we prayed for a peaceful resolution to the war in Ukraine. Grace before our evening meal was reflective. Each person present stated what they were grateful for in comparison to our Ukrainian friends, who are doing without.
So, ending on a happy note: until next week, keep calm and eat up all those chocolate eggs.
You always bring a ray of sunshine to my day; your eloquent and vivid descriptions of life at Highclere bring us right into your world as if we were there! Thank you for taking the time to share your Easter celebrations. He is Risen!
Mindy in Central Alabama
Dear Lady Carnarvon –
It is a special treat every Monday to delight in your blog as we sip tea from our special Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee mugs. Your compassionate and informative words restart each week and we are always better people for having read them.
We rejoice in seeing the children – and adults – once again enjoying life at Highclere Castle. I am sure there is a beautiful noise that accompanies. We join you in wishing all who celebrate sacred days at this time, joy and peace — most especially those who are living in terror. Your Easter celebration is such a ray of sunshine and happiness and your blog offers a sense of belonging to the magical world of Easter at Highclere Castle.
– Steve and Robin, Williamsburg, Virginia, US
How lovely to hear from you ! It was very nice seeing people’s faces – smiling and just getting out again!
Lady Carnarvon, a wonderful day at Highclere Castle. A lot of hard work for you and your staff but you made so many people happy. The joy of giving! Well done to you and all!
Thank you Cheryl
Dear Lady Carnarvon!
Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful Easter celebration and The beautiful photos. I enjoy so much to read about your interesting life at Highclere!
Over here in Sweden we have had wonderful spring weather with sunshine during The entire Easter!
All The Crocus are in bloom and The birds are singing!
I want to wish you a very HAPPY SPRING filled with sunshine!
Swedish greetings from Lena
What a wonderful weekend! This was my first visit to Highclere Castle and what a wonderful visit it was!! I really hope I get the chance to visit again very soon. The Castle looked fantastic in the sunshine and everyone was so friendly creating a lovely fun and enjoyable atmosphere. It was particulary lovely to be able to chat with you and be part of the Easter celebrations and be made to feel so welcomed. Thank you. Brett (The Stilt Policeman!)
Thank you for being a fabulous Policeman!
What fantastic weather you had, I am coming to Highclere on Friday with my husband and 2 friends it is an early 70th birthday present for me. I can’t wait. xxx
See you then !
Lovely article. Our prayers are with the people of Ukraine and may the world live in peace. Happy Easter!
Good Afternoon Lady and Lord Carnarvon, Luis and Highclere Castle staff,
My husband Neil, my son William and I want to say ‘Thank You!!!’ for hosting an eggscellent Easter celebration. You all have worked really hard to make it such a special day for all of us. We’ve enjoyed every minute of the day but especially our son William who was so thrilled to find all the clues in order to get his chocolate prize and especially when you, Lady Carnarvon, announced him to be one of the winners of the Easter bonnet competition. After the announcement William looked at me with a proud smile and said:’She picked me!’ William also loved seeing the piglets and stroking the lambs. My husband loved Lord Carnarvons Rolls picturing himself driving around the estate . As always Luis was his charming and helpful self. Nothing was too much trouble. As for myself I just soaked in the whole atmosphere of the day and I can’t thank you all enough for hosting such an amazing day!!!
Wonderful day had by all!
“He Has Risen!”
“He Has Risen Indeed!”