Easter use to be a religious holiday. When I was growing up, we went to church every Sunday morning and evening. Easter was a time of special significance. Now we can no long call them Easter Egg Hunts. They are now just Egg Hunts that happen prior to the day of the lunar month that holds Passover. Passover is on the full moon and Easter is the first Sunday after the full moon. Easter egg hunts now happen on the Saturday before Easter.
With the secularization of religious Christian holidays, society has brought about many changes. Santa is now the symbol of Christmas as are the bunny and eggs of Easter.
When I was growing up everyone would dress in their finest for Easter Sunday. Some folks only attended church for this day. I guess they felt this was the most important Christian holiday. It is the only one that falls consistently on a Sunday, thus it is easy to attend church on the holiday.
In the town where I grew up, Spring break coincided with the week before Easter. Because some students needed time off for Passover and some for Good Friday, it was just easier to make the break the week before Easter.
Having learned to sew at a young age, Spring break always included making some new clothes, back then, dresses, as we seldom wore pants in public. I always took the opportunity to make a new Easter dress for Sunday. This ensemble almost always included a hat, the Easter Bonnet. No one wears hats as a decorative accessory these days. Hats are functional, the keep the head warm or hide the loss of hair, not decorative.
I loved hats and made a few of those as well. When I was in college, it was still common for women to wear hats to church and special events. I made one which was especially my favorite. It consisted of a pheasant feather skullcap-like hat with three long tail feathers raked to the right side and back. It featured a black tight-fitting veil that came down to my nose with black dots woven into the quarter inch holes in the netting. It was gorgeous and I wore it until the feathers were too tattered to continue. The long, tail feathers were replaced several times before the hat’s demise.
Easter morning always included an elaborate breakfast. My mother liked to make eggs goldenrod. This consisted of a base of toast on which was poured a white sauce made with the addition of chopped hardboiled egg whites. Over this you would place egg yolk which had been forced through a sieve creating a fine powder of egg yolk over the entire dish. It was good and we had it with fruit. I almost made it this morning (Easter morning) just for old time’s sake, but the idea of the white sauce with boiled egg whites just seemed to blah. I opted for a Pecan/Coconut Coffeecake, which is my husband’s favorite, and scrambled eggs with green onion.
Easter now is a turning point in the seasons here in Western Washington State. It is about the time to clear out the greenhouse and start the seeds for plants which will be set out in the middle of May. I plant late. The plants do better than ones started early which languish in the cold soil and produce produce* the same time as mine. This Easter is intermittent sunshine and clouds and it is fifty-one degrees. If we still had bees, they would take their purging flight today.
I sent my husband to the grocery to purchase lettuce for dinner and discovered that the price was $5 a head. Horrible and probably caused by the fact that California has had so much rain. It beats the lettuce into the mud and makes it inedible. We will start the hydroponic lettuce bed today in the greenhouse and in a few weeks have $500 worth of lettuce. I WISH! We will have the lettuce, but the price will have probably fallen at the grocery by that time.
This morning on my way to the woodshed to get wood for the stove, the cacophony of birds really told me of the joy of Spring and Easter. It is hard for me to take the religion out of this holiday. Though I did not attend church this morning, the woods behind my house are a sanctuary for me and for the birds that sang so wonderfully this morning. Though I didn’t make a new dress for the holiday, I do try to make life new with the renewal of spring chores. Soon I won’t need the firewood to warm the house; soon the birds will have lots of little ones; soon the plum and apple and pear trees will burst into full blossom.
Ah Easter, a wonderful time of renewal.
*Chinese students of mine, here is a good one. Notice the difference in pronunciation but not spelling. Also a difference in meaning.