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Sunday, May 26, 2013
I did write a sonnet about my Easter bonnetPosted Tuesday, April 7, 2009, at 11:51 AM
Well not a sonnet, a blog entry. But, Easter is just around the corner, though the weather certainly doesn't feel like it, and I thought it might be a good time to share a few memories and explore some traditions behind the fun spring holiday.
I don't remember Easter being as much of a to-do in my childhood as Christmas or Thanksgiving, but I think I did have a new dress, sometimes with a matching hat, most years. It was a family day for certain, beginning at church and ending at my grandmother's house with a nice lunch.
When I was younger, of course, there were Easter egg hunts. There were both hard-boiled and candy-filled eggs, which we'd dyed and filled the evening before. Somehow it was still exciting to hunt for them, even though I knew what they looked like and what was inside. There were Easter baskets as well, which were really more like Christmas stockings, filled with candy or holiday socks or cute spring pajamas.
My more recent memories of Easter involve food, or lack thereof. For one Lenten season, I gave up chocolate, and those six weeks were definitely some of the crankiest of my life. Another time I gave up soda, which wasn't so hard; to this day, I barely drink any. I couldn't think of anything to give up this year, so I chose to continue my New Year's resolution of exercising regularly and eating well.
I have always loved candy, and Easter treats are no exception. I used to love Cadbury crème eggs, though they made me feel sick after eating a whole one, and Peeps. Now, I lean toward the Cadbury caramel eggs and solid chocolate bunnies. Russell Stover's strawberry-crème filled eggs are pretty delicious as well. My aunt and I used to make Jell-O eggs every year, served in a "nest" of toasted coconut. They really don't taste that amazing, but they look cute.
The person I know who celebrates Easter in the best way is a dear family friend, Maureen, my "adopted" mother when I lived in Columbia for college. An Irish-Catholic with a blended family, Maureen chose Easter as her pull-out-the-stops holiday because her entire family could not always make it to Christmas or Thanksgiving. Every year she hosts "Camp Easter Bunny" at her house, for both the young and young at heart.
Camp starts with a delicious brunch, complete with coconut cupcakes and mimosas. The egg hunt follows, but it encompasses so much more than that. All children and single adults are allowed to collect goodies from the yard, most of which are not too well-hidden. I have found dish towels and plastic storage containers, tissues and sponges in Maureen's backyard. There are squirt guns for boys and tubes of lip gloss for girls, as well as more traditional candies and trinkets. The Easter bunny, as played by Maureen's husband Jim, pays a visit to all the treat-hunters, and a good time is had by all.
Most of the Easter traditions mentioned above are not church-related, but that doesn't make them less enjoyable, especially for kids. After all, Easter is an amalgamation of pagan spring festivals and Judeo-Christian traditions. According to History.com, the name of the holiday probably comes from Eastre, "the Anglo-Saxon name of a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility, to whom was dedicated a month corresponding to April. Her festival was celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox."
The Web site also says that Easter egg hunts are not religious in origin, though the tradition of decorating eggs may have grown out of Lent -- eggs were not eaten during the fasting period, but were decorated so as to be pretty when eaten once Lent was over. The first White House Easter egg roll, now an annual tradition, was held in 1878 when Rutherford B. Hayes was president.
Other fun facts: Easter bunnies are not symbols founded in religion, rather a derivation from the egg-laying hare myth brought by German immigrants to Pennsylvania in the 1700s. About 16 billion jelly beans are produced annually in the U.S. for Easter candy shoppers, as Easter is second only to Halloween in sweet sales.
Little Town Blues Goes to China
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Something about music. Something about small towns. Something about Hong Kong. Or maybe something else entirely.
Sydney is a former staff writer for the Democrat-News. She received degrees from University of Missouri in both music and magazine journalism. She played oboe with the Marshall Philharmonic Orchestra and the Marshall Municipal Band while she was in Marshall.