What does Easter mean to you? Are you religious, are you Catholic, like me? Is it a hoilday tradition that you celebrate with your family?
Easter has always reminded me of a rebirth. I was brought up catholic and was taught that Christ was resurrected on Easter. He rose from the dead. The priest repeated it every Sunday in church. So, as a child I thought; it must be true. Hence, the reborn part. It is also the beginning of spring in which nature awakens from the winter sleep. In my mind, I thought the rebirth and regrowth of nature were the same thing.
Well, then what the heck does the Easter bunny have to do with Easter? I wondered as a kid. I never could quite fiqure out how the two were connected. What I found in my Easter Basket was much more important to me than going to church.
According to the History Channel; Easter traditions and symbols have evolved over time, though some have been around for centuries. While to Christians, Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Christ, many Easter traditions are not found in the Bible. The most prominent secular symbol of the Christian holiday, the Easter bunny, was reportedly introduced to America by the German immigrants who brought over their stories of an egg-laying hare. The decoration of eggs is believed to date back to at least the 13th century, while the rite of the Easter parade has even older roots. Other traditions, such as the consumption of Easter candy, are among the modern additions to the celebration of this early springtime holiday.
The Easter bunny has become a prominent symbol of Christianity’s most important holiday. The exact origins of this mythical mammal are unclear, but rabbits, known to be prolific procreators, are an ancient symbol of fertility and new life.
According to some sources, the Easter bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws.” Their children made nests in which this creature could lay its colored eggs. Eventually, the custom spread across the U.S. and the fabled rabbit’s Easter morning deliveries expanded to include chocolate and other types of candy and gifts, while decorated baskets replaced nests. Additionally, children often left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all his hopping.
Well...Now I know :)...or maybe I knew before but just forgot ...
The outfits my parents bought for all of us (7 kids) every year was also part of our Easter tradition. Six of us got new patent leather shoes, (mine were always toooo tight for my wide feet) white ankle socks, a new skirt and matching jacket, and a small purse. When we were old enough and made out first Communion, then we'd get our own little white donation envelopes with our individual names on them. On special occasions, like Easter and christmas, they would be a bright pink or yellow. Most weeks I put ten cents (which was my allowance) As I got older a quarter or dollar bill sufficed. Once inside church, we'd tuck out white gloves inside also. I can't forget about the always dreaded straw hat. My sisters didn't seem to mind theirs but I did. I disliked the straw hat because the elastic that tucked under your chin to hold the hat on pinched me like crazy, and when I tried to take it off, it always snapped back at me. As a child I was very sensitive to the little things; my shoes were always too snug fitting, and the skirt buttoned too tight (to this day, I have trouble buying shoes because my feet are wide and I do like to wear skirts or anything that is too high up on waist). My only brother was always dressed head to toe like a little man; new suit, tie, shiny shoes, and a top hat.
Most families in out neighborhood were Irish Catholic and all of our friends went to the same Catholic church. Our neighborhood was filled with names like; McMillan, McNamara, O'Malley, and Ahearn. Twas a very Irish clan.... for sure. There was always a festive atmosphere about. My grandparents came over for Easter dinner, other family members, cousins, aunts and uncles would stop be.
My memories now of the yearly Easter photo lineup we did every year is fond. I miss what my family used to be. That's me, standing next to my mom. The two youngest girls were not born yet. I am grateful to my Mom and Dad for giving me this tradition, even though I groaned about the dress attire.
Today my Easter tradition does not include attending church... but I remain hopeful for a rebirth of what it means to be human and all that comes with the new growth.
May you find a rebirth in your soul and time for personal growth!