Celebrating Easter: No Ravens Allowed

By , April 4, 2010

On this Easter Sunday, children and the young at heart all across the nation are hunting Easter eggs. In Alaska, those who do so face stiff competition from ravens!

Easter eggs naturally dyed with alder bark, red cabbage, beet and others (Photo: Michelle Zeiger)

Because Easter is a floating holiday, I used to have trouble knowing when it was each year. In Juneau, I’d watch the sky for clues. I knew the holiday was at hand when I began to see ravens flying by with pastel-colored orbs in their beaks. The egg hunts had begun, and the corvids were taking full advantage!

The most famous story comes from the Anchorage area. A group hid eggs in a park for a large hunt. Hundreds of ravens sat in the surrounding trees, watching. By the time the organizers returned with the children, reports say not a single egg could be found!

We learned to hide only plastic eggs, keeping the dyed hard boiled eggs safe inside, one year when we hid eggs in our Juneau backyard. I stepped inside to call Aly, and when I returned, I found a raven sitting on our smoke house, happily eating an egg. They’ll go after the plastic ones, but opening them slows the ravens down enough for us to keep ahead of them.

Aly still enjoys an Easter egg hunt, even as a teenager. Here on the homestead the hiding opportunities are better,matching her increased hunting skills. Our resident ravens, while as bold and clever as any, are much better mannered than their more urban relatives. So far, we’ve had no trouble from them.

As for the rest of the celebration, we don’t try to attend church. One’s Easter finery wilts as one hikes out. Besides, I defy you to find a man-made cathedral to match our surroundings. We’d rather celebrate resurrection, rebirth and renewal in the out of doors, thank you!

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