Isn't Eastertime a joyous time? How could it not be? The symbols of Easter represent hope, immortality and eternal life. Some of those symbols carry over into many foods. Infact, I'm preparing to make my favorite savory Easter recipe next week: Torta Pascualina (meaning, Eastertime Tart).
Olive oil, eggs and 33 layers of dough are some of the beautifully symbolic ingredients for this savory spinach and egg pie, which is very common in Argentina, Italy and Spain. Many countries have a long, long history of using the symbols of Easter in specialty foods which they make once a year. Torta Pascualina is one of them. I learned to make this many years ago when I was an LDS missionary in Argentina and I cherish the meanings the ingredients contain.
SYMBOLISM of Olive Oil, Eggs & 33 Layers of Pastry:
Olive Oil & the Olive Tree: They are symbols of immortality and eternal life. If an olive tree "dies", new life springs from the base of the tree as budding shoots sprout. The tree eventually grows back to life again. This horticultural phenomenon took on mythical proportions thousands of years ago for the the Greeks, Egyptians and Romans. No wonder the olive tree is called "the king of all trees" in the Bible, which makes over 140 references to olive oil and hundreds more to the the olive tree itself.
The olive was so vital to the Greeks that Solon passed the "Olive Protection Law" in 620 B.C. This law carried a death sentence to anyone found guilty of
In Exodus 30: 22-31, we learn that olive oil is the holy oil used for anointing people to sacred callings, so that the spirit of God may come upon the person to set them apart for a God-given task. How fitting, then, that the Hebrew word for Christ, mashiach (or Messiah), means "anointed"; Christ is The Anointed One. And, the classical Greek word for Christ, Khristós, means covered in oil, or anointed, being a literal translation of Christ's name "Messiah". There is even more to the olive and olive oil. The olive branch is a symbol of peace, and what was another name for Christ? The Prince of Peace.
Eggs: They are a Christian symbol of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Famously, red-dyed eggs, part of Greek Easter celebrations, are a symbol of the blood of Christ and rebirth.
33 Layers of Pastry: The number of years that Christ lived on earth. The traditional Italian recipe for Torta Pascualina, which dates back to 16th century Liguria, Italy, calls for 33 layers of pastry for this reason.
- Traditions of Great Lent & Holy Week, material prepared by Fr. Philaret Littlefield for inclusion in the St. George (Milwakee) Melkite Sunday Bulletin.
- 'Liquid Gold' Should Be Included in Easter Traditions, by Marty Cheek
- Recipe: chef de lujo