The same word can mean different things to different people. Take «spring» for example. To an engineer it means that curly metal thing that will take pressure and bounce back. To the geographer it means a spurt of water from the ground.
To the gardener it is that time of the year when plants come back to life, buds appear and the weather starts to improve. To the Victorian poet, Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) it meant the season when love is in the air as can be seen in this line in the poem Lockley Hall that he wrote in 1842:
«In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love». From the purely language point of view the word suggests something lively and full of enthusiasm rather similar to jumping. The expression that heads this piece «a spring in your step» means a certain liveliness in the way you walk, which means in turn that you have something to be pleased about or as Tennyson would indicate «someone» to be pleased about… We also use the expression «full of the joys of spring» when we are referring to someone being in a particularly good mood. A «spring chicken» is a young chicken ready to eat. Unfortunately the words are also associated with being sarcastic in a negative way. To describe a person as «no spring chicken» is to mean that they are no longer young! It is a time in the year when you begin to notice in the bright light that perhaps the things in your house need some attention and so you set about «spring-cleaning». A «springboard» is either a board from which you dive into the swimming pool or a method by which you start a new life or career. And then there's «spring fever» a feeling that you want to do something new and to get away from daily routine. But of course at this time of the year there is a religious festival — Easter.
This is the festival that commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ and is referred to as a «movable feast» because unlike Christmas Day it is not always on the same day each year. The day of the Easter Festival — the day on which Easter is celebrated is the Sunday following the full moon after 21st of March. It also means that it is a time for celebration and fun. Real eggs were decorated with bright paints. Today of course these have been replaced with chocolate eggs, mountains of which are now on sale in most supermarkets. In the north of England there is still the old custom of rolling hard boiled eggs down slopes to see which travels the furthest. Another popular game is to hide eggs in the garden and get the children to go and find them. The hare — a sort of wild rabbit was the symbol of the Moon goddess, «Eostre». The popular word for rabbit is bunny and that too is sold in chocolate.
Finally the word «bonnet» makes an appearance at this time of the year and like all good words in English it has more than one meaning. One of these is used to describe the cover that goes over the engine in a car. The other meaning is a woman's hat. The Easter Bonnet was decorated with flowers and ribbons and even today there is an Easter Parade in London on Easter Monday when each participant tries to outdo the other. There is a famous film called Easter Parade made in 1948 and one of the most famous songs goes by the same name written by Irving Berlin. Here are two verses sung by the hero about his lady:
Never saw you look quite so pretty before
Never saw you dressed quite so lovely, what's more
I could hardly wait to keep our date this lovely Easter morning
And my heart beat fast as I came through the door for:
In your Easter Bonnet, with all the frills upon it,
You'll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade
I'll be all in clover and, when they look you over
I'll be the proudest fellow in the Easter Parade.
What can I say after that except «HAPPY EASTER»?