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Adina1968's avatar

Why is it that Ham is the most popular dish for Easter?

Asked by Adina1968 (2737 points ) April 10th, 2009

How did ham become the popular dish for Easter? Is there a reason behind it? We sort of know why we have turkey for Thanksgiving.

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18 Answers

asmonet's avatar

“The meat that is traditionally associated with Easter is ham. Though some might argue that ham is served at Easter since it is a “Christian” meat, (prohibited for others by the religious laws of Judaism and Islam) the origin probably lies in the early practices of the pagans of Northern Europe.

Having slaughtered and preserved the meat of their agricultural animals during the Blood Moon celebrations the previous autumn so they would have food throughout the winter months, they would celebrate the occasion by using up the last of the remaining cured meats.

In anticipation that the arrival of spring with its emerging plants and wildlife would provide them with fresh food in abundance, it was customary for many pagans to begin fasting at the time of the vernal equinox, clearing the “poisons” (and excess weight) produced by the heavier winter meals that had been stored in their bodies over the winter. Some have suggested that the purpose of this fasting may have been to create a sought-after state of “altered consciousness” in time for the spring festivals. One cannot but wonder if this practice of fasting might have been a forerunner of “giving up” foods during the Lenten season.

Chocolate Easter bunnies and eggs, marshmallow chicks in pastel colors, and candy of all sorts . . . these have pagan origins as well! To understand their association with religion we need to examine the meaning of food as a symbol.

The ancient belief that, by eating something we take on its characteristics formed the basis for the earliest “blessings” before meals (a way to honor the life that had been sacrificed so that we as humans could enjoy life) and, presumably, for the more recent Christian sacrament of communion as well.

Shaping candy Easter eggs and bunnies out of candy to celebrate the spring festival was, simply put, a way to celebrate the symbols of the goddess and the season, while laying claim to their strengths (vitality, growth, and fertility) for ourselves.


That’s the best I could find. Most Christian holidays and their traditions go pack to Pagans. :)
Not too big on the reliability, but again, best I could find.

marinelife's avatar

I would argue that ham is not the traditional meal in all cultures or even in all parts of ours. We have had a tradition of having lamb for Easter.

AstroChuck's avatar

Tofurky at my house.

MacBean's avatar

I don’t know, but it makes me sad. Ham is gross. :(

asmonet's avatar

@MacBean: First Sam now Ham?

Friendship Terminated!

MacBean's avatar

@asmonet: Actually, shouldn’t that make us better friends? No arguments over who gets which boy, and you can have extra ham!

asmonet's avatar

Oh my god.
You’re a fuckin’ genius.

Friendship Reinstated.

casheroo's avatar

because honey baked ham is fucking delicious.

ubersiren's avatar

What @casheroo said. And because we’re so fucking sick of dry, tasteless turkey from the holidays we have to eat ham to keep our sanity. We’d start hating holidays if we didn’t mix it up. Luckily my mother only makes turkey for turkey day and ham the rest.

cookieman's avatar

Not in my house – it’s Leg of Lamb all the way.

Although we did sell a gazillion maple-cured, spiral cut hams at the farm today.

asmonet's avatar



AstroChuck's avatar

Poor Babe.

asmonet's avatar

Dude. I live on pig meat, I still want a pet pig. And I will happily NOM on bacon right in front of his pigbutt.
Babe’s frickin’ lucky he hasn’t met me. Pity him when he does.

AstroChuck's avatar

@asmonet- You’d probably feed pork to him as well. So evil.

asmonet's avatar

I might, I know they’d eat it. I might do it just to watch it and freak myself out. Pigs will eat anything. And…I do have a shirt of a cartoon pig happily munching on a strip of bacon. It’s almost worn out. I love it.

evil. evil. evil! :D

ubersiren's avatar

I was just notified by my mother that she is just fixing pulled pork sandwiches and potato salad this year… did the apocalypse come? Was I not aware of the presence of the seven headed beast?

Thronak's avatar

In England it’s strictly fish on good friday… if you’re religious that is (which I’m not… so I had black pudding for breakfast today :D: D).

asmonet's avatar

Oh god, anytime black pudding is mentioned I literally gag.
I’ve eaten seahorse, how can you eat that?!

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