By Capt. Peacock
A young lady by the name of Maria in Arlington, Texas writes:
“Dear Capt. Peacock,
I’m six years old and want to know what the Easter Bunny is like in the Amazon. In Texas he brings us a basket filled with grass and hides eggs and chocolates and toys all around the house and yard for us to find before we go to church.
Is that what happens down where you live?
Well Maria, thank you for the letter and might I say what pretty handwriting you have for a six-year-old even if it is in crayon.
Yes, there is an Easter Bunny down here and I suppose it’s probably the same one that comes to your house in Texas. I’m not sure how he gets to every little boy’s and girl’s houses all over the world in one night but he seems to do just that. Maybe he learned how to do that from Santa Claus.
I’m not sure.
But before I really get into the Easter Bunny and what he does let me touch on to what your letter alludes to; that Easter is a day about going to church with family and friends to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and that is certainly the case here in Brazil. In fact, the first Mass celebrated in Brazil was on Easter Sunday on April 26, 1500.
That’s over 500 years ago!
So, yes, church and celebrating Christ is a huge part of Easter with most Brazilians attending at least one service.
Easter weekend actually starts on Good Friday with most Brazilian’s fasting (not eating anything) until noon. At that time, the whole family gathers for a fish meal and to celebrate. Some towns have parades and festivals that the whole family can attend on Friday and Saturday.
The same goes here on the Rio Negro. After everyone goes to bed late Saturday, the Easter Bunny hits the trails to deliver eggs and chocolate and candy to all the kids up and down the river. As it’s pretty dark in the jungle and he has so many eggs to carry, Mr. Bunny gets lots of help from special friends. Along where we fish those friends are Blacky the jaguar who can see in the dark, Aderbal the giant redtail catfish who can carry lots and lots of eggs on his back across the rivers and lagoons, Raimundo the tapir who can smell out any dangers along the trails, Ana Flavia the howler monkey who is good at checking to make sure kids are asleep before the Easter Bunny enters the house, Cleo the parrot who uses her feathers to dust away everyone’s footprints so you can’t follow them, and Saulo the pretty pink dolphin who…well, I’m not sure what he does. Maybe he helps carry eggs as well. I can’t remember and those dolphins are so crafty you never know what they’re up to.
On Easter Morning kids all up and down the Rio Negro awake to find that this group of jungle friends has delivered lots and lots of goodies. The kids enjoy their gifts with their family and one another before going to…you guessed it…church.
So, yes Maria, there is an Easter Bunny and he’s pretty much like yours…
Except yours doesn’t have jaguars and tapirs!
Thanks again for your letter and please remember that the Bunny that visits you and all the children around the world is a symbol of spring and rebirth and a reminder of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
I know this because I know Amazônia.
I’m Capt Peacock.
A vida é melhor vivida na Amazônia.