Easter Traditions

Easter, like all other major holidays, was always a big deal in my house growing up. My mom did a masterful job of making what was otherwise just another day in a lot of kids' lives special for my sister and me.

Easter really began the night before for us. We popped the colored tablets into the memorably stinky vinegar solution cups, and watched them fizz and pop to form the colors we'd use to decorate the eggs. And of course, my artist sister's were always much prettier than mine.

Before going to bed, we'd set out carrots for the Easter bunny, and then scurry up the stairs to our beds, awaiting the first of two egg hunts when we awoke. On Easter morning, there was always a chocolate-fueled frenzy to find the eggs the "Easter Bunny" had hidden in our house. While "the Bunny" would write down the location of each egg to ensure we found them all, one memorable Easter egg hunt ended with a still-missing egg. Several weeks later, we identified its location by its putrid smell: it was underneath a cushion on the wicker bench we had in our kitchen.

After the hunt and having pawed through our Easter baskets, it was time to get ready for church. My mom ascribed to the "Go Big or Stay Home" philosophy where our Easter outfits were concerned. There were big frilly, poofy dresses with matching purses. There were white gloves and white tights. And there were bonnets adorned with ribbons. Looking back at our Easter ensembles now, we likely resembled Jon Benet (minus the makeup gun dialed to hoochie) about to sashay down the runway, but in the late seventies and early eighties, all the little girls dressed like this.

After church, it was time to head to my grandma's for the big family Easter dinner, but more importantly, for the Easter egg hunt my grandparents put on for us and our numerous young cousins in their backyard each year. They would painstakingly hide dozens and dozens of colored plastic eggs. Some contained pennies and nickels. Some contained candy. And one, the golden egg, contained a crisp new $5.00 bill. Needless to say, the competition to obtain that prized egg was fierce. As as the oldest grandchild, I adopted a "take no prisoners" mentality with my younger cousins, and found that egg more often than I didn't.

Dinner after the hunt was like every family meal at my grandparents: expansive, indulgent, and with enough food to feed at least twice the number of people who were there. The meal always culminated with my grandfather chopping bits of a giant chocolate bunny or basket into small pieces for everyone to sample.

And later that evening, fully coked out on spent adrenaline, chocolate, and candy, we went home to bed.

I was talking with a childhood friend last night, and she was trying to put together special Easter baskets for her two young sons. She remembers the care her mother put into her own Easter basket growing up, how it was decorated with a crocheted bunny overlay (hey-what do you want? It was the 70s), and loaded not just with chocolate, but with special toys and surprises buried beneath all the fake green and pink grass. And it had her name satin-stitched on the outside. And she said something that really struck a cord with me. It's things like this, special touches to an otherwise ordinary Easter basket, that kids remember about their childhood. It's not big overblown parties or expensive toys, but the little things your parents and grandparents did for you to make the holidays and every day special.

So what's your fondest Easter memory?

8 Responses to “Easter Traditions”

  1. # Blogger Alisha

    Oh, I LOVE Easter! It was always such a special holiday in my family. My grandmother's husband passed away on Good Friday 20 years ago this year, and I think everyone else went way out to make it better for her. My favorite memories are of decorating Easter eggs with old school dye+water+vinegar and of Easter egg hunts out in this huge field with my all my cousins.  

  2. # Blogger Clare Eats

    I loved having hot cross buns on good friday.

    I bought some really nice exe ones. Just before I go to bed (otherwise I would be asleep now) I discover that 2 are missing. Casey ate them! And not on GF.
    GRRRRRRRRRRRR  

  3. # Anonymous sher

    I so agree with you about the importance of childhood memories. My maternal grandmother made wonderful Easter baskets for us and I was thinking about them yesterday. It's a special memory because I could see how much love she put in those baskets.  

  4. # Blogger Binulatti

    You've pretty much summed it up. Funny, being in the West Coast "heathen country" I kind of dismissed Easter for the past bunch of years, but the memories are definitely there. It's nice to look back :-) How about the "low hanging friut" eggs left in the yard @ Gramma & Papa's that we older cousins were supposed to leave for the little ones to 'find'? And the amazing basket-woven palms Papa always did? And the white patent leather 'special occasion' shoes we had to wear? And the annual appearance of "Easter Bread" (what's in that anyhow)?! In contrast, here the supermarket flyers don't even say "Easter" for all the egg and candy specials. They say "holiday". It took me a few seconds to translate the secular attempt at copywriting. Funny. So - do they make maternity Easter dresses? ;-)  

  5. # Blogger Kross-Eyed Kitty

    I do remember that my mom also liked to colour eggs. I used to like getting them in my lunchbag for the first few days, but by the end of the week...ewww...it was pretty stinky!!!  

  6. # Blogger Marie

    I'm all set to color eggs this year. We may even do a little hunt. Can you believe I've never done one?

    Easter memories that come to mind... staying up til midnight with my sister on Easter Eve to have a Cadbury egg (we gave up chocolate for lent several times).

    Also, seeing our empty Easter baskets jammed into our trunk on family vacations to Myrtle Beach --we spent many Easters in M.B. as kids.  

  7. # Blogger Shannon

    I don't have a specific favorite Easter memory, just a general warm fuzzy feeling over dying eggs with my sisters, hunting for the baskets in our house on Easter morning, trying to keep my dad from eating our chocolate bunnies. I do believe that we always ended up making devilled eggs after our egg hunt, since it was a family specialty for us and they didn't just sit around going to waste in the fridge. I do fondly recall that my mom always had a basket out for me up until I was 18 years old--so sweet!  

  8. # Blogger Kristi

    Alisha-aww... those are great memories. Thanks for sharing them.

    Clare-Bad Casey! First the pan-breaking issue, and now this! Although where the buns are concerned, can you blame him?

    Sher-what a nice tradition your grandma started for you!

    Karrie-How could I forget the low-hanging fruit eggs? And the Easter bread! I hope Doed makes some this year.

    Ramona-yup. I agree. For the first few days, Easter eggs were great. After that, though...not so much.

    Marie-No Easter egg hunt? Wow! Definitely do one this year with the little guy.

    Shannon-Do we share the same mother? LOL. I believe if my mom lived in my city, she'd hand-deliver my childhood Easter basket to me every year.  

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