Images and memorabilia of spring and spring holidays are on exhibit now through June at the Burrows House Museum of the Lincoln County Historical Society. Hats, shoes, postcards, and photos of spring highlight the display. The postcards feature spring images of rabbits, eggs, and birds.
“It might be raining outside, but this display will brighten your day,” Steve Wyatt, executive director of the Historical Society, said.
The passage of the cold and dark of winter to the brightness of spring has been cause for celebration for thousands of years. The ancient Saxons of northern Germany celebrated spring’s return with a riotous festival of fertility. In the second century Christian missionaries, wishing to convert the Saxons, added their sacred traditions to the pagan festivals. The result was Easter, the Christian celebration of the resurrection. The springtime Jewish festival of Passover commemorates the story of the Exodus in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt.
The Easter Bunny originated with the celebration of the goddess Eastre, worshipped by the Anglo-Saxons through the earthly rabbit. Germans brought the symbol to America, but it wasn’t adopted until after the Civil War. Until then the Easter holiday was not widely celebrated in America.
The exchange of eggs in the spring was already a centuries’ old custom when Easter was first celebrated. The date of Easter relates to the equinox evoking birds, flowers, and other new birth or rebirth images.
The Lincoln County Historical Society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the history of Lincoln County. It operates the Burrows House and Log Cabin museums located at 545 SW Ninth Street in Newport. The museums are free and open to the public. The Burrows House Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; the Log Cabin Museum is open Thursday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Society will soon open the Pacific Maritime & Heritage Center on Newport’s Bayfront.