by Bernadette A Sahm
Easter is one of my all-time favorite holidays! Do you celebrate Easter? What does it mean to you? Did you celebrate it as a child? Was it different then or now? What changed and what remains the same?
This Lenten season I took a much-needed pause and break, and I reflected on Easter and what it once meant to me as a child and what it now means to me as an adult. This year for Lent I gave up “no food no phone” from 7:00 in the evening until the next morning. This served me well both spiritually and physically. I lost weight and I gained insight and centered myself more than I could have imagined. I feel so much healthier not being tied to an electronic device and not over consuming on calories before bedtime.
Growing up Catholic made Easter a very special time with Holy Week and all our holy days of obligation, going to church and to religious instruction, I learned about Jesus Christ and the Resurrection. As a little girl, I had “Easter outfits.” Pretty little dresses, new MaryJane shoes, lacy anklets, gloves, Easter hats and cute little white purses. My Sunday best Easter outfits were something that my parents put much thought into as they dressed five daughters for the Easter holiday.
We had Easter baskets filled with Easter candy and Easter treats, I remember large chocolate covered cream eggs with my name written on top in pink edible icing and pink chocolate bunnies on a lollipop stick, and small eggs made with hardened sugar and to look like a tiny house with scenic spring like settings inside them. Although the sugar eggs were deemed “edible” we never really ate them but appreciated their beauty and the tiny little scenes inside often made up of bunnies and lambs and flowers in soft pastel spring colors. One year we went to our local Farmers Market and came home with tiny live chicks that were soft and yellow and quite active too.
As a mother raising children, I was always big on treating them to video movies and books like the Beatrix Potter series. Each year we visited the local Easter Bunny and often attended the “Bunny Breakfast” for kids. Of course, we taught them our Catholic faith and we outfitted them with their own special Easter outfits for Sunday service. Like my parents we made Easter a big family celebration with dying Easter eggs and traditional Easter dinner of baked ham, several side dishes and most often coconut cake or coconut cupcakes.
Recently I was walking through a department store and strolled by little Easter outfits for boys and girls, cute complete spring outfits suited for church and for celebrating. It warmed my heart to see it. Our society has become so casual that it felt good to see that there is still a market for cute Easter outfits for kids.
Many times, Easter was also Spring Break, and the kids were off from school so we either spent time in our beach house in Delaware or we travelled to Florida. We tried to venture outdoors as much as possible taking in all the signs of spring with blooming trees and flowers and warmer weather.
TODAY AS AN ADULT
Many of the traditions that my parents taught me and that we shared with our children still ring true today. We still dye eggs, we still enjoy the classic ham dinner, we watch The Ten Commandment every Palm Sunday when it airs on local television. Most often we are at the beach and ride bikes, take long walks and take in all that nature offers.
But Easter has taken on an even deeper meaning as I have aged. I pray more, I reflect more on what Jesus’ life meant and how I might continue to live my best Christian life. There is that traditional Catholic Easter celebration but more and more each year it resolves around life in its many forms and with a deep nod to gardens and gardening. Trees that bloom and flowers that are growing again and all the Easter flowers in itself are cause for pause and for celebration. We begin again in Easter! We see signs of new life all around us, our days are longer and lighter. Grass is soft and green; the sky is blue, and the birds are chirping again.
I still love the Easter bunny and Easter candy and all the traditions of the Easter holiday, but I have also come to view it as a celebration of Spring and in being so, it is a celebration that we can all share in … Happy Easter! Happy Spring!
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