Sunday, April 13, 2014

Bunnies, Bonnets and Baskets--There's A Lot Going On!

by Leann

Growing up, Easter was probably the most strictly religious holiday at our house. We attended services starting the Thursday before Easter and went to church all four days. The resurrection, to me, was one the most interesting stories in the Bible. It is a great mystery, after all. And who doesn't enjoy a happy ending?

So as I contemplated the other things that go on at Easter time, I was surprised at how much stuff happens for kids alongside the many religious celebrations. There are bunnies, egg-coloring, candy, bonnets, Easter baskets, lilies, the special meal--always ham for us--and even chicks. What the heck is it all this about?

I know one thing. Merchandisers love Easter and have since before I was born! We used to get a new outfit at that time every year. I so looked
forward to those new patent leather shoes and a pretty hat and coat, not to mention the dress. (The shoes ALWAYS hurt, by the way, but they sure were pretty.) The candy was way down at the bottom of the list for me.

Coloring eggs was a special treat, but I at times contemplated the connection between a basket
full of colored eggs and an Easter bunny. Bunnies don't lay eggs, after all. And what do they have to do with chocolate? I once did a little research when I realized not much of this mish-mash of traditions made sense to me. I am of German decent and once
again, it seems, that the Easter "hare" was another ploy by my ancestors--like Santa Claus--to get children to behave. The better you behave, the more candy you got. (Some things are universal, right?)

Besides the German Lutherans, the Catholics contributed their part. It seems at one time, eggs were not allowed during lent, so there was an abundance of eggs at Easter (and probably an abundance of chicks, too). Eggs colored red represented the blood of Christ. Of course now we have decals and plastic but at least I have a little understanding of how things started. It is now over-commercialized, like every other holiday, but there is a peace about the days leading up to Easter. For me, it is the holiday that celebrates hope and beauty.

What about you? Any special traditions? Memories? I'd love to hear them!

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