Happy Easter! Okay, so the bank holiday weekend with the key days of Good Friday and Easter Monday is now behind us, but it’s still school holidays and some of you may be enjoying time off work still. I was back to the non-writing day job yesterday, but I’m looking forward to having tomorrow and Friday off too.
My question for the WRs this week was, quite simply, ‘What does Easter mean to you?’
I attended church until I left home for university aged eighteen and remember there being a Palm Sunday parade from The Salvation Army Church at one end of the high street, past my church (Methodist) and up to the Church of England church at the other end for a multi-denomenational service. I’d parade as part of the uniformed organisations (Brownies, Guides, then Rangers) and I my over-riding memory is of being absolutely freezing because we weren’t allowed to wear coats or jumpers. Back then, the Brownie uniform was a dress, although I was certainly grateful for my bobble hat. I remember being giggling each year because the donkey always seemed to go to the toilet outside the church. I’d then spend the rest of the service trying to warm up, knowing that we’d have a freezing cold parade back again!
As a child, we’d get loads of Easter eggs – one from each set of grandparents, and from each auntie/uncle. My childhood home had an extra room downstairs called the study. It was originally a garage before we moved in and had been converted to a room, but it always retained that cold feeling of a garage. As such, it was the perfect place for storing Easter eggs and selection boxes at Christmas, keeping them nice and cool. It was also the perfect place for helping myself to chocolate when nobody could see me! I used to raid my Easter eggs and those of my older brother; such a pig! When I was 19, my habits hadn’t improved. My boyfriend in my 2nd year of university bought me a fabulous Easter egg. It was a large Cadbury’s crème egg one with a picture of a juggler on the front. The hollow chocolate egg was his stomach and his juggling balls were 2 normal-sized crème eggs and 7 mini crème eggs. I’d been presented with it about a week before we broke up for the Easter holidays and it sat enticingly on my shelf with strict instructions not to eat it until Easter. I think I lasted about a day before I broke into it. If I just ate one of the mini eggs then placed the foil back in the mould, that would be okay, wouldn’t it? So I did that. But it was really yummy. So I had another. And another. By the time we broke for Easter, I packed my Easter egg to take home. Except there wasn’t any chocolate left in it; just a plastic mould with the foil wrappers shaped into it to look like it was all still there! Oops!
So, what does Easter mean to the WRs?
I have very happy memories of Easter. One of the main ones is watching Jesus of Nazareth starring Robert Powell. We all – my mum, dad, sister, brother and I – gathered round the television to watch it, enthralled. My mum and dad weren’t religious at all, but they were really absorbed in the programme. As for me, I cried absolute buckets. I totally believed in the Easter story and it broke my heart to see it played out on screen before me.
Easter, for me, has always been one of the most important times of the year. Of course, when we were children, it also meant Easter eggs and time off school to me and my sister. One year, we got thirteen Easter eggs each from aunts, uncles, grandparents, parents, family friends…Quite ridiculous, really.
When my own children were little I made it very traditional. Fish on Good Friday, Easter eggs, lots of Easter themed television, a turkey dinner on Easter Sunday and sometimes church, too. Now they’ve all left home and my faith has sadly dwindled, I think, in my mind, Easter is simply tied in with spring – daffodils, new lambs, new life, new hope. In that sense, I suppose it has that much in common with a story of resurrection and overcoming even death. I do think that, if you’re a Christian, Easter is the most special time of year, even more than Christmas. I wish everyone – of all faiths or none – a happy Easter.
Easter time here on the farm is like any other day. The daily jobs of milking and feeding continue regardless of what holiday it is. This only makes family time all the more precious, although with two older teenager’s social lives to be factored in this Easter, it may prove difficult to all be around the table for dinner on Easter Sunday.
As with most families, Easter is also about chocolate eggs and probably far too many of them! It’s good also to stop and reflect about why we are celebrating Easter. Just as Christmas isn’t all about the gifts under the tree, Easter isn’t all about mountains of chocolate.
I hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend and that you haven’t eaten too much chocolate!
Easter to me is a time of new beginnings when the world wakes up from its winter slumber. For me my reading tastes change a little, from the fireside reading of winter, when I love P.D.James and Charles Dickens to livelier, more summery tomes. This year is a special treat, because there’s so many of my lovely Write Romantics’ stories available now in print and electronic form. Roll on better weather when I can loll around in the sun with an iced drink and suntan lotion and call it research!!
I was brought up as a reasonably strict Catholic and went to a Convent school from the age of ten. I would attend St Dominic’s church every Sunday in my best hat (even if I had a terrible cold and sneezed through most of the service) Lent was all about the money I would give to charity if I gave up sweets etc, rather than an excuse to diet or stop the booze (which it seems to have turned into today) and Easter was all about Christ dying on the Cross. So my memories of Easter are mostly about the dreaded Stations Of The Cross in church. There were I think, fourteen ’stations’ and the gathered congregation would kneel and pray at every icon reflecting on the image of Jesus at his crucifixion, before standing and walking to the next ‘station.’ I recall this took forever and one time I got a fit of the giggles with my best friend. She suppressed her laugh rather too much and it came out the other end as a loud ‘trumpet’ noise. This made us laugh even harder and she continued to ‘trump’ for Britain. People around us started tittering, but the nun in charge of us hoisted us up and sent us to the back of the church to reflect on our sins. She didn’t say what our sins were as I suspect such a thing as a ‘blow off’ couldn’t be acknowledged as it was far too unladylike! It was actually a bit of a result as we messed around with the rosaries and ‘palms’ that were for sale at the back of the church until it was all over.
Easter for us is a quite a low-key affair these days – not that we ever did a great deal but certain little traditions, like painting the shells of boiled eggs for breakfast, have slid off the radar now, mainly due to not having any children in the family, and the demise of my mother-in-law who celebrated Easter as she did everything else, with a cook-fest. She used to make scrumptious spicy hot cross buns which were sent down to us on the morning of Good Friday, not before, not after. Then on the Sunday there’d be a family gathering at her house for the big roast, followed by Christmas pudding from the batch she’d made the previous year. She made simnel cake thick with marzipan and iced in lurid green which is the traditional colour, and on the top was a plastic egg decoration with a chick inside which came out year after year. If we weren’t full after that lot there were home-made Easter biscuits sparkling with green-coloured sugar (no worries about additives for her), as well as the Easter eggs themselves and other chocolate treats.
I still do a roast – which has to be lamb, nothing else – and this year I was farseeing enough to get an extra Christmas pudding, having let them all down so badly last year by not providing one. We have Buck’s Fizz mid-morning and champagne with lunch. Any excuse. The boys still get eggs, old though they are (the boys, I mean, not the eggs) and I always have daffodils in vases to brighten things up. In the loft we have gigantic folded-paper rabbits and another rabbit that plays a tune which we stand about, if we remember to get them out. We always invite my husband’s Aunt Peggy. She’s 91 now. This is a photo of her at ours last Easter. As you can see she’s still got a sparkle in her eye, as well as in her glass. We don’t do outdoorsy things at Easter. The weather always seems so cold, but we usually go for a drive in the country on Easter Monday and maybe stop off at a likely hostelry. That’s something we did when I was a child, and we used to pick primroses if they were out in time, but of course you can’t do that now.
I do like Easter-time. It’s so colourful with the daffodils and other flowers, and the Easter displays in the shops. And of course you know that summer’s not that far away – always a cheering thought.
Helen R says…
We’ve never been a religious family so Easter has never been a big event in our house. This is hard when the kids fire questions at me about ‘why do we have Easter?’ Only as an adult did I find out eggs are given to each other to signify new life and it’s nice to have a basic understanding now.
As for the chocolate side of things I’m afraid I’m over excited this year. It’s my first Easter in the UK since 2000 and the Easter eggs on display in the shops are amazing. I shall make my selections this year and remember the meaning of the occasion.
I think Easter, a bit like Halloween, is a lot *bigger* now than when I was a child. I don’t remember Easter egg hunts or anything like that, but my mum would make birds’ nests from strands of shredded wheat, dipped in chocolate, and fill them with little candy eggs. We had a big family and so would receive lots of chocolate eggs from relatives and they’d all be lined up on the sideboard. My sister would still have most of hers in June, but I’d eat all of mine by the week after Easter. Once or twice I even broke into her stock and tried to smooth out the foil after I’d eaten the egg, to make it look like it was still in there. It’s no wonder she’s three sizes smaller than me, even now!
With my own children, we’ve always had Easter egg hunts, even when we’ve been away on holiday – which we often are for the school break. Here’s a photo of the eldest three when we were in the New Forest one Easter and about to set off on a trail through the woods. This year is no different, we’ll be staying in a converted barn in the Llyn Peninsula in north Wales and I’ll be hiding eggs for the big hunt on Easter Sunday. I’ve tried suggesting that they might have outgrown it now that they’re 10, 13, 14 and 16, but they’ve insisted they’ll never be too old for an Easter egg hunt. Here’s hoping I’m not still looking for places to hide their eggs when they’re in their forties!
What about you? We’d love to hear about your Easters past and present. You can comment by clicking on the ‘comments’ tag at the end of the teeny words below this post. Thank you xx