The Easter holiday is upon us! I know not everyone celebrates Easter and I have complete respect for that! If you don't celebrate it, keep reading. I love to hear about different traditions and different religions (or non-religions) and I hope you do too. I would love it if you would leave a comment and tell me about some of the traditions (whether religiously affiliated or not) that you celebrate with your family and why they mean so much to you!) I got to thinking earlier this week about a few things pertaining to Easter and had a good talk with Daddy last night about some of them. Then I saw a friend post a status on FB this morning similar to what I had been thinking and decided a blog post was in order.
When I was growing up, Easter was this amazing Sunday where we woke up early and ran downstairs to see if the Easter Bunny came to hide eggs and leave candy in our baskets. Mr. Dependable never let us down, rain or shine! We always had plenty of jelly beans, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (in the shape of eggs of course), bite-sized snickers, and malted milk balls (which some years he would trick us and leave gum instead. They looked the same so I always had fun trying to guess which one it was before taking a bite). It was the BEST to come running down those stairs and see our baskets sitting so prominently on the kitchen table, filled to the brim with candy and a few little books, toys, or stuffed animals. Then we would empty out one of the baskets and my brother and I would run around the house trying to see who could collect the most Easter eggs. Now, I'm 9 years older than him, so obviously I dumbed it down a bit. The Easter Bunny was so nice to have two different levels of egg-hunting difficulty so that we both could enjoy the hunt. My brother's were always super easy and I would conveniently overlook the hot pink egg lying right in the center of the beige carpet. Silly me. ;-) But Mr. Rabbit sure knew how to hide some hard ones too! Even beyond the age when I "figured out" that the Easter Bunny was really my parents playing some sort of odd game of trickery, I enjoyed the holiday because of the traditions, the joy on my brother's face, and the sport of egg-hunting. (P.S. We still do egg-hunts with my family to this day. Every year we hide about 30 of the hardest-to-find, clear, camouflage, and neutral colored eggs known to man. It's a blast! Only the adults participate- well I suppose the kids "help"- and we take turns who is on the hiding team and who is on the finding team. At the end, whoever has found the most eggs gets to keep The Trophy; a big rubber chicken!)
Now that I am a parent myself, I've really had to sort through all of the traditions I had as a child and figure out which ones I like, which ones I could really live without, and how to incorporate Daddy's traditions into my own (and vice versa). This is really the first year that the kids are old enough to carry on their memories from Easter. We asked them the other day what they remembered about Easter last year and neither one of the older two had any recollection of this holiday whatsoever. Then it dawned on us that this is our last chance to decide how we want to play the whole Easter thing.
To be honest, I never really got "into" the Easter Bunny very much. Certainly not like I did Santa. I knew from a pretty young age that the Easter Bunny was really my parents. (Probably because every year as I was running down the stairs to go hunt for eggs, my mom would yell out "Don't forget to look by the _____"...... smooth mom, really smooth. Either she thought I was an idiot or she thought she was the sneakiest mother fucker ever.... I'm going for option B. lol)
So needless to say, the Easter Bunny was never really this amazing, mythical creature who broke into our house on Easter Eve in order to hide his little goodies and eggs. He was just a regular, old cottontail my parents made up to somehow enhance the celebration of Easter. I just never felt it was necessary. As I said, I loved Easter because of our traditions. Because it was the one day a year it was socially acceptable to eat candy for breakfast, drag my parents out of bed to find hidden food from the fridge, and to put on my fancy dress and go to church.
That brings me to my next point.... the whole Jesus thing. I grew up a Roman Catholic and still claim that religion today. And truthfully, if I had to pick just one religion to associate myself with, it would still be the Roman Catholic one. I love the history, the traditions, and the reverence of all things holy. I went to many Catholic retreats during middle school and high school, and honestly they are some of my fondest memories. Overall, I don't agree with everything the Catholic Church teaches, but I think that's true of anything. No one really likes EVERYTHING that a political candidate stands for, but we vote for them anyway. And no one likes everything about their spouse, or their best friend, or their kids, but they still choose to have a relationship with them. That's how I view my relationship with my religion.
Anyway, back to Jesus. Ok, so lest we forget that this special day of Easter is actually about Jesus and his miraculous resurrection, Daddy and I are trying to figure out how to incorporate all of our secular traditions into our religious ones. Despite the fact that my family went to church every Easter, my parents were no Bible-thumpers. They attended church 2-3 times per year.... you know, like an oil change... gotta keep things runnin'. (p.s. it's actually crazy that I do have such a strong faith because it was definitely not something we ever spoke about or practiced when I was young. For some reason, the Church caught my attention and I attended almost every week from middle school on up because I asked my neighbor if I could catch a ride with her. I'm really thankful that the Lord spoke to me and got my butt into church. He has changed my life in so many amazing ways!) Anyway, for some reason they really enjoyed going to church on Easter and I really enjoyed sharing it with them. It always felt like going to church with them made the day that much more special.
So.... within the next few days, we need to figure out how to incorporate our own traditions with the religious purpose behind this holiday. I'm not so sure I want to go the whole Easter Bunny route. To me the star of this holiday is Jesus. His resurrection is MUCH more miraculous to me than the fact that a giant rabbit breaks into houses to hide eggs and drop candy. So I think we're going to let Nana regale us with her stories of The Easter Bunny, and in our house we will focus more on the Resurrection. We will, however, still do Easter baskets, laden with candy and goodies, and hide eggs for the kids to find. But instead of pretending that the Easter Bunny came to surprise them, I want to teach our kids something else. Because we love them so much, as Jesus does, we want to shower them with wonderful gifts and joyous traditions, much like Jesus did when he ascended into Heaven and gave us everlasting life. We can use the scripture to show our children how blessed we are that Jesus gave us such a wonderful gift. And we can tell them that we celebrate this amazing miracle by enjoying, candy, goodies, and joyous festivities with the ones we love. I can't imagine a better way to spend this holiday than teaching my children about Christ's love for them and by splurging in all of the delicious treats that bring us so much joy. I love this holiday!!
How does your family celebrate Easter? Are there any new traditions you created or any old ones that you let go of? I'd love to hear about it!
Love and Blessings,
The Clucky Housewife