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Mount Orégano
Sue Burke
Mr. Bunny vs. Easter sweets in Spain 
5th-Apr-2007 08:25 pm
Let me see..

Right now (Thursday evening), people in robes, masks, and tall pointy hats are parading through downtown Madrid. It's not the KKK, it's the Easter processions, a solemn religious tradition. Televised live, too. The hats show that they're penitents, and the masks allow them to do penance in private even though they're surrounded by crowds and TV cameras.

Although globalization has brought chocolate bunnies to Spain, the traditional Easter sweet is  Madrid-style French toast, called torrijas: thick slices of bread soaked (not dipped) in milk and eggs, deep fried, then sopped in syrup flavored with cinnamon and lemon peel.

It is eaten chilled, and is not low calorie. A love of torrijas made Queen Isabel II fat.

Madrid's pastry shops will sell about 3.6 million slices of torrijas this season -- this in a city of 3 million residents. Each slice costs about €2 (US$2.66).

You can buy chocolate bunnies, however, and I saw them for sale in my grocery store labeled "Conejos tipo bunny" (Rabbits bunny-style). Bunny? I mentioned this to my Spanish teacher, and she explained that the word as used in Spanish comes from the last name of that cartoon rabbit Bugs -- Bunny -- which by extension has become a nickname in Spain for all rabbits, especially the imaginary type, like the Easter bunny. She did not know that the word existed previous to Warner Brothers.

Globalization brought "bunny" to Spain, via Looney Tunes. ¿Qué hay de nuevo, viejo? (What's up, Doc?)

5th-Apr-2007 08:52 pm (UTC)
I believe it's more of a 'hare' in Europe. A very different sort of rabbit. I don't believe 'bunny' translates in French, either.
7th-Apr-2007 07:45 pm (UTC)
Europe has both hares and rabbits. In Latin, "hare" is "lepus" and "rabbit" is "cuniculus." In Spanish, "hare" is "liebre" and "rabbit" is "conejo." In French, "hare" is "lièvre" and "rabbit" is "lapin."

According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, "hare" comes from Old English, and "rabbit" comes from Middle Dutch. "Coney," as in Coney Island, comes from Latin via Old French. "Bunny" comes from Scottish and refers to the succulent rear quarter or "bun" of the animal.

Here in Spain, they eat both rabbits and hares, and they're tasty but pricey, and I wish they'd cut the heads off the critters before they sell them anyway.
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