Clementine looks forward to Easter
Clementine: The Easter bunny-girl
Fashionable dolly diva Clementine gets a little confused about the real meaning behind the traditions of Easter in her March video postcard for BBC Norfolk. All is explained and she discovers chocolate can be good for you - in moderation!
Clementine, the living fashion doll, is like a magpie when it comes to all things shiny and glamorous.
The explosion of brightly coloured, foil-wrapped Easter eggs in our shops is like a dream come true for the dolly diva. Being a size triple-zero, she can also over-indulge in her passion for chocolate.
Clementine turns Easter bunny-girl
"For my March video diary I thought I'd start my eggsploration into Easter by slipping into a traditional Easter bunny-girl outfit. At least I'm told it's traditional," she said.
Chocolate eggs delivered by an Easter bunny-girl might be Clementine's understanding of the holiday, but the origins of the Easter bunny date back to pre-Christian fertility lore.
The Christian festival of Easter celebrates the resurrection of Christ. It is the most important Christian festival and is celebrated with joy, but long before this pagans celebrated the changing of the seasons and renewed life on Earth.
The goddess Ostra or Eostre was worshipped by the Anglo-Saxons through her earthly symbol, the hare. Recognised for its fertility, along with the rabbit, they served as symbols of new life during the spring season.
The date of Easter (believed to have evolved from Eostre) changes each year, and several other Christian festivals fix their dates by reference to it.
Celebration of chocolate
Our bunny-girl's impression that Easter is a celebration of chocolate is an easy mistake for her. Clementine's favourite boutiques are filled with chocolate so surely that's what Easter is all about?
St Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich
Chocolate does have a part in Easter, but it is symbolic of something much deeper.
"It is important for Clementine, for all of us, to know that God loves you very much. In fact, because God is the creator of the heavens and the earth, of all time and eternity, God loves you and all humans infinitely," said Revd James Mustard, curate at St Peter Mancroft in Norwich.
"But, over time, God came to appreciate that it is all too easy to look down from heaven and say, 'Don't worry, I love you,' without really understanding what it feels like to be human. So, God decided to become fully human in the person of Jesus.
"As Jesus, he lived among us and experienced what it means to be human - to have hopes and fears, joys and sorrows. Through all of these experiences, he wanted to reassure us that he loves us whoever we are and whatever we're going through.
"However, God came to realise that in some ways chocolate is much more successful as a token of love than being God: the more he said to humans, 'I love you,' the more we rejected him.
"The more honest Jesus was about God's love for the world, the more the world wanted to silence him. Even his friends turned against him and in the end, on what is known as Good Friday, he was put to death on the cross.
Joseph Mawle as Jesus in The Passion
"As God hung in agony on the cross with the human face of Jesus, he struggled to understand why this was happening to him. But, he came to realise that he had to go through this experience of pain and death if he is really to understand us.
"But, despite our rejection of God in the person of Jesus, God is still God and he still loves us infinitely. That is why Christians celebrate Easter and that is why we give each other chocolate - it is small sign of the way in which God loves us," he added.
City of chocolate
Norwich has enjoyed a long association with chocolate, starting back in the 1800s when Albert Caley started the production of Caley's chocolate in the city.
The factory, now the site of Chapelfield shopping centre, was destroyed in 1942 by enemy bombing. The factory re-opened in 1947 and became the property of Rowntree Mackintosh in the early '70s.
Mass chocolate production ceased in Norwich when the factory closed in the late 1990s, but the Caley's brand is still held with great fondness in the city.
A bit of what you fancy
If you're looking at Easter eggs this year thinking 'I couldn't possibly,' the good news is that a moderate intake of dark chocolate is believed to help lower blood pressure.
The secret lies in the flavanoids, which are not found in ordinary milk chocolate. They are associated with helping us become more sensitive to insulin, reducing blood pressure and helping lower the potential risk of heart disease.
Dark chocolate can have health benefits
"No single food is bad for us, rather it's the amount of the food we eat which causes a problem," said Kate Gudgeon, Norfolk's lead community dietitian.
"Chocolate is both high in fat and sugar, so eaten to excess will cause weight gain and the associated health risks eg. coronary heart disease, diabetes etc.
"But dark chocolate containing at least 70 per cent cocoa does have some beneficial properties. The flavenoids act as antioxidants preventing cell damage in the body.
"Chocolate is also known to increase the release of neuro-transmitters serotonin which gives us' the feel good factor'. Serotonin can help lift our mood and improve sleep patterns.
"Cocoa in chocolate is also high in iron and magnesium. Magnesium can help to reduce some cancers and premenstrual tension," she added.
Despite the evidence of dark chocolate's potential health benefits, we shouldn't rely on it in place of other antioxidant-containing foods like fruit and vegetables.
"The overall message is to follow a healthy balanced diet including five portions of fruit and vegetables, meals containing starchy carbohydrate like pasta and potatoes, small amount of lean meat and fish, and some milk and dairy products," said Kate.
The egg has had a religious significance in many ancient civilisations. Egyptians buried eggs in their tombs as did the Greeks, so it's no surprise that Christianity should also adopt the egg to symbolise the resurrection of Christ.
As time has gone on, the egg decoration has become more elaborate with colourful patterns and in some cases, delicate gold and silver leaf details.
The most famous and ornate of Easter eggs must be the jewelled and enamelled eggs that Fabergé was commissioned to make for the Russian tsars.
"I never knew there was so much to Easter, my diary entry for March has been quite an education," said Clementine.
"Now I'm just hoping for a tall, dark, Action Man to bring me a Fabergé egg on a satin cushion - in my signature colour of pink, of course. Something encrusted with diamonds and rubies will be perfect."
Clementine came to life following a freak accident when a falling satellite exploded into a plastics factory.
She now lives in London, but her road to fame and fortune started on a beach in Sheringham when she was discovered splashing in the surf looking for Mermen by Norfolk puppeteer Mark Mander.
Now a dolly diva, imagine the love-child of Lucile Ball and Barbie, Clementine works as a singing star, fashion icon and TV presenter with her tiny feet steeped in both fantasy and reality.
Sometimes she can be as sassy as Samantha from Sex in The City, and at others as naive as Ugly Betty!
last updated: 17/04/2008 at 12:04