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!


Aurian said...

I don't have any memories of really celebrating Easter like that. Perhaps as little children we did paint eggs, but not for long, as the eggs became inedible from the paint. Now it is just a lot of chocolate, and an easter tree, which consist of just budding branches in a vase, decorated with tiny little eggs and chicks and hares.
And the color yellow, which makes me happy as it is a sunny color and my favorite one.

Leann Sweeney said...

The Easter tree sounds lovely. What a nice tradition. Keeping things simple is sometimes the right way to go!

Dr. Mary Kennedy said...

I just remember getting a new "outfit" for Easter and going on an Easter egg hunt. I'm with you, Leann, I could never understand why "bunnies and Easter eggs" would go together. Love the painted eggs you posted, I have a friend who does them. Talk about having a steady hand, I don't know how she manages, but they are really gorgeous.

Leann Sweeney said...

Thanks Mary. I guess the egg thing and the "hare" tradition got merged because we are a nation of immigrants bringing all sorts of traditions for the holidays. Somehow Easter got a big hot mess of tradition! :-)

Mary Jane Maffini said...

I was also raised in the Catholic tradition and we observed Lent and all the Easter rituals. In our house the new hat was also part of that ritual as were the egg hunts and the baskets and all that. I am looking forward to some eggy fun with our 'little kids' this weekend.

I find it interesting how pre-Christian traditions were encompassed into our rituals. Chocolate bunnies now. Explain that! Snort.


Leann Sweeney said...

Yes and didn't you always want to bite their head off? What's with that? :-)

Mary Jane Maffini said...

You have anticipated my Thursday post! Shhh! XOXO


Lynda said...

Easter was the time when we all got new outfits as well. I always looked forward to that. When I was young, my mom made all our clothes (even my brother's shirts), so we often matched. When my grandniece was born, I started a tradition of getting her a new outfit ever Easter, and last week I started the tradition with her 9 month old daughter. It is so much fun looking at the cute Easter dresses.

And, of course, coloring eggs and then hunting them were always a part of our Easter. I can remember times when we had to hunt them in the house because of bad weather. I also remember us kids begging my parents to hide them again so we could hunt them some more I also remember my parents counting the eggs so none of them were missed - not much worse than rotten egg smell :-)

Leann Sweeney said...

We are of the same generation. My parents counted those eggs, too! This Easter I sent the 3 granddaughters identical personalized aprons for their baking adventures (and for crafts, too). They like to have fun in the kitchen and I thought "identical" might avoid a little trouble this year! :-)

Lynda said...

LOL - Yes, at certain ages, identical is definitely the safest way to go. And aprons are a great gift.