In Christian households, Easter, of course, is celebrated as the religious holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. But the celebrations of Easter have many customs and legends that pre-date Christ. 

Kitten and skunkMany scholars, accepting the derivation proposed by the 8th-century English scholar St. Bede, believe the name ‘Easter’ is thought to come from the Scandinavian ‘Ostra’ and the Teutonic ‘Ostern’ or ‘Eastre,’ both ancient Goddesses of Mythology signifying Spring and Fertility, whose festival was celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox.

Traditions associated with this ancient pagan festival survive in the Easter Rabbit, a symbol of fertility, and in coloured Easter Eggs, originally painted with bright colours to represent the sunlight of Spring.

We’ve all heard of the Easter Bunny, but have you heard this tale of the Easter Skunk?

It was just last spring, around Easter time, when a stray female cat and her one tiny surviving kitten were brought to an animal shelter by a kind-hearted soul.

Sadly, this particular shelter had more unwanted waifs then they could possibly adopt out, and mama cat and her kitten were scheduled to be euthanized.

Miraculously, they received a second chance at life – an Easter Renewal of Life, if you will - due to a most unusual benefactor.

Fortunately for the baby kitten and its mother, a 3-week old orphaned baby skunk was also dropped off at the same animal shelter, just before the two felines were to be put to sleep.

 Instead of bottle-feeding the orphaned skunk, shelter workers soon decided to put the infant skunk in the cage with the nursing mother cat to see what would happen.

Amazingly, the mother cat quickly took to nurturing the skunk as if it were her own offspring.

I can’t help but wonder if this wise old cat somehow knew that she had received a great Easter gift.

The baby skunk and the infant kitten quickly bonded and nursed and played together, and they soon became like brother and sister.

Because the animal shelter doesn't keep wild animals, a wild animal rescue group compassionately took in not only the baby skunk, but the mother cat and her kitten, as well.

After the orphaned skunk was weaned, it was released back into the wild, and a home was eventually found for both the momma cat and her precious baby.  Their lives had been miraculously ‘resurrected.’

Second chances in life often come about when you least expect them; and from some very unusual sources.

And the Easter Holiday truly can bring all sorts of miracles, to all sorts of God’s creatures.

© Ed Kostro 2005

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