When I was a little girl, Easter was pretty much the same every year. On Saturday night we would have a family dinner, usually a cookout or spaghetti, and dye eggs. And not a few eggs! We would dye dozens of eggs, at least 10! Mamaw had to have some with all of her church ladies' names, my mom took some to work, and all the family members had their names on eggs, including anyone who might randomly show up on Easter Sunday! It took hours! The kids would get bored after the first few dozen and then the grown ups would have their turn.
Easter morning, my sister and I would wake up and find Easter baskets in the hall outside our bedrooms. Oh, the candy we would find! There was always a toy of some sort, but as I got older it became a cd. We would put on our Easter dresses, usually with warm tights and sweaters, and head out to church. Ever notice how Easter around here is unpredictable, but usually cold?
Then to Mamaw and Papaw's house for our Easter feast! Ham, potato salad, collard greens, pickles, beans, the spread left little room on the table for our plates! After the kids finished eating, we would run around asking when the grown ups would finish eating so we could go find eggs! We were more than a little obnoxious, I'm sure. We would be herded into the living room and watched carefully to be sure nobody peeked out the windows. After what seemed like hours, we were finally allowed to go hunt eggs, by age order though, so the littler ones would be able to find the obvious eggs. I was the oldest, and it seemed to take forever to get to my turn!
Eggs were all over the yard. We would find eggs in the strangest places, and after we thought we had found them all, Uncle Larry would tell us there were more. He would have riddles ready to help us find those last elusive eggs. That was the best part. All of us kids would stand around and beg for more clues. One year, even he forgot where he hid a couple of eggs, and Papaw found them a month later doing maintenance on the house!
Now, all of the grandchildren are "grown" with the youngest in college and I have my own children. So the traditions are beginning to be passed down. Easter dinner is still at my Papaw's, but the fare has gotten simpler and easier. My mom, uncles, and aunt still buy the eggs to dye on Saturday night, but I no longer get to hunt the eggs. Now, my husband and I hide eggs for our children. And the Easter bunny at my house has a lot to learn about planning ahead so the kids have baskets with the right balance of candy and toys.
Easter has always been a family day for us, but you might have noticed just the passing mention of church Sunday morning. Now that I have my own family and my own faith, I get to build my own traditions. This year, there will be Bible readings in my house and stories read to my preschoolers before Easter morning. At my weekly Bible study, the kids heard the Palm Sunday story straight from the donkey's mouth. Next week they'll hear the Easter story from their teachers and again from me. I hope that my children will enjoy Easter for all of the fun things like egg hunts and baskets, but I want them to know the JOY that comes from the knowledge that Jesus is alive.
Please share your family traditions!