Uncle Dave's book

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter and Family Traditions

     Easter is a very ancient holiday. Before Christian times most cultures had a Spring Equinox celebration often involving bunnies and eggs. However, I don't find any family photos of Easter celebrations before the 1950s and even then there are only one or two. My mother told me that in her family everyone would get a new dress or outfit to wear to Church on Easter Sunday. She was raised in a Presbyterian Church. After Church they would drive to her grandparents' house about an hour's drive. Her grandparents had a poultry farm so they had a big holiday dinner with the whole family (five children with their spouses and children, about 30 people). Chicken would be the main dish. The children would have an Easter Egg hunt around the farm. She also mentioned dyeing Easter Eggs. This was in the 20s and 30s.

     When my sister and I grew up in the 50s we would also get new dresses and patent leather shoes to wear to Church. Before Easter we would dye Easter Eggs. Easter morning we would wake up and find Easter baskets from the Easter Bunny. These always contained chocolate bunnies, chocolate eggs and egg shaped jelly beans. I think one year we got live bunnies. I don't think we ever got live chicks although I always wanted them because they were so cute. Either before or after Church we had one or more Easter Egg hunts with our Dad hiding the eggs. We'd have a big Easter dinner with either fried chicken or ham as the main course. I once got one of those beautiful sugar Easter Eggs that was decorated and when you looked in the end there was a scene inside. I wanted to eat it but my mother wouldn't let me! Here Comes Peter Cottontail and Easter Parade were songs we sang. Dennis, my husband, says his Easter was very similar, except that he and his brother liked to mix the dye and come up with olive drab type colors that his Mom said were "the ugliest Easter Eggs" she'd ever seen. They were thrilled at that, of course!

     With my own children we continued most of these traditions. However, we didn't go to Church on Easter morning which made the Easter outfit unnecessary. I tried to dress in Easter colors and perhaps buy the kids new clothes. But we dyed Easter Eggs, had the hunts and they got Easter baskets with a chocolate bunny and other candy every year. We still sang Here Comes Peter Cottontail and Easter Parade. We went to Grandma's and had a big Easter dinner, usually ham.

     My daughter and her husband don't do as much for Easter. One year we gave our grandson an Easter basket but she didn't want him to have a chocolate bunny. We did do an Easter Egg hunt, though! She does have her kids dye Easter Eggs and this year they had an Easter Egg hunt.  So, most of the Easter traditions continue into the 21st Century and I'm all for that!
 My husband and his brother in their Easter suits 1955
 My sister, Mother and I in our Easter dresses ca 1956
 My daughter dyeing eggs 1986
 My son hunting Easter Eggs 1986
 My son and daughter Easter morning 1987
 My Grandson and Granddaughter about to hunt Easter Eggs 2016 (he wanted to use his pumpkin instead of an Easter basket.)
 My Granddaughter hunting Easter Eggs 2016