April 4, 2010 – Why We Eat Ham on Easter

4 Apr

9 am

1 cup of coffee

1 croissant

1 pm

1 apple

strawberries

7 pm

ham

roast beef

asparagus

Diet Coke

I always wondered how ham, the delicious byproduct of an unclean animal (according to Leviticus 11:9-12), came to be associated with a holiday honoring the most famous Jews of all time.  In fact, ham is also de rigeur during Christmas. On Easter, ham is primarily an American thing. Most of the world eats lamb, which makes more sense, symbolically. But ham, like other pork product, is a no-no according to kosher laws, and it was the same for some Christian sects as well. I COULD start a theological debate by bringing up that most Biblical food laws coincide with ancient food preservation, or the lack thereof, and that a lot of ancient people probably got sick from eating improperly cooked pork before they realized why that was happening, leading to the passages in Leviticus. It’s the same reason why shellfish was also forbidden according to the Bible. But for some reason, ham is not only OK, it’s tradition to eat it at Easter. So I decided to do a little research, i.e. ask on Google, and see what the reason was. And the answer is… I’m not sure. Stupid Google! There seems to be a few possible answers. One, ham was cured at the beginning of winter in America, and when Easter rolled around, that was the meat most commonly available. And since lamb is relatively scarce here, ham made the most sense. It was also OK for Christians to eat ham because St. Peter lifted most dietary bans for Christians in the early days of it’s religion. That might’ve been a political move to gain more converts in the Roman Empire, where pork was more common. So, there you go. Despite the original ban in Leviticus, it’s now tradition to eat a pig for Jesus. Let’s hope this doesn’t send all of us swine lovers to hell.

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One Response to “April 4, 2010 – Why We Eat Ham on Easter”

  1. Adam April 7, 2010 at 11:46 pm #

    “Eat a pig for Jesus” is now my most favorite phrase

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