Thursday, March 28, 2013
HAPPY EASTER THOUGHTS
As I get older, special occasions such as Easter trigger memories of my childhood. Those memories come in small vignettes of thought and imagery. This morning as I was writing a short note in an Easter greeting card, some childhood remembrances of Easter came flooding into my consciousness.
When I was a child, Easter was my second most favorite holiday of the year. For every child, Christmas was number one. But when springtime came, there were certain traditions that made Easter the second most anticipated holiday in the year.
Easter meant going to the Fair Store in Jasper where Aunt Dolly worked, and purchasing some new clothes. Another store we patronized was Engell’s, where we bought our new Buster Brown shoes. In my small eyes, it was a big, big store. With the purchase of my new Buster Brown shoes, I would receive an additional free gift--an Easter baby chick, dyed in bright spring colors of yellow, purple, orange, cotton candy pink, pastel green or soft sky blue. I really didn’t care about the shoes; I just wanted a baby chick. For a child who did not get to make many choices, it was something really special to select the color of the baby chicken I wanted, and to take it home. At that time, dying little baby chicks and owning them as pets was not considered an inhumane act. Looking back on the practice now, I know it was. The little chicks were kept in a cardboard box where water and feed were provided for them. Regrettably, the Easter pets did not live very long. Inhumane or not, it was an annual highlight for a little boy from Nauvoo.
Another Easter tradition was that of dying eggs. Mother would let us children help with this project. It was so much fun sitting around the table and decorating the eggs. At that time, during the late 40’s and early 50’s, there were not such things as shiny colored plastic Easter eggs. We used the real thing.
After that, she prepared different liquid egg dyes in bowls or cups in which we would dip the eggs. The eggs would be dyed in an array of rainbow colors. To acquire a deeper color, we would dip the egg into the dye more often. It was important to let the eggs dry in order for the color to set. After the eggs had dried, then appliqué stencils were used to place different designs on the dyed egg. The end result was a beautifully decorated Easter egg. Those eggs were placed into Easter baskets filled with green artificial grass, which cradled the beautiful eggs. The baskets also held various candies for the season, and a stuffed toy rabbit. The basket would be totally covered with colored transparent cellophane wrapping with a big bow on top. Of course, the Easter basket, with all its accessories, was store-bought with the exception of the eggs we decorated. These were added to the basket after our dying and decorating them.
After the Easter baskets were opened, and all the goodies were either consumed or removed, they were used on Easter Sunday to gather hidden eggs. We would hunt eggs at church. The eggs we found were ours to keep and to eat. I didn’t care for boiled eggs, except for hiding and finding. I would let someone else eat them. We would also hide and hunt eggs at our house as a family. There were so many great places to hide the eggs around our place, which made finding all the eggs difficult. I can recall that on one occasion, an egg was hidden so well that we did not find it until the following Easter!
Easter rituals have changed through time, but churches do continue to have Easter egg hunts. There is still Easter candy and Easter baskets. There are plastic eggs now, to be filled with special treasures. Easter baskets now hold goodies instead of real eggs. I suppose that says something about today’s world.
But Easter is more than a tradition. It is more than memories. Though the word “Easter” does not appear in the Bible, it is the acknowledgement of the risen Christ. In fact, every Sunday is an acknowledgement of His resurrection. Jesus came as a baby born in a manger; He died on the cross for our sins; He was buried in a borrowed tomb; and on the third day, He arose. A suggestion—read First Corinthians Chapter 15, known as the resurrection chapter. In conclusion, reflecting on Easter the way it once was is fun to do, but the importance of Easter and what it represents has never changed. Happy Easter, everyone!!!!!