Easter Baskets and Matching Outfits

There were some interesting Easter traditions in my house as I was growing up. Yes, we got the chocolate-filled baskets with a years’ worth of M&Ms just beneath the grass. Yes, we got the chocolate bunny which we either crunched off the head immediately or saved for last—depending upon our age and relative spunk. Yes, we colored eggs with the vinegar dye and arranged them just so on the table. But the tradition I remember the most was the matching Easter outfits sewn by hand by our mother. We each had our individual colors, but the pattern and ribbons were always similar.

What we didn’t know, or appreciate until much later, was that our mother often pulled an all-nighter on Easter Eve in order to finish the project. Yes, procrastination was one of Mom’s well-honed attributes. My mother was not known to be a cussing woman, but I have to believe she let out a few choice expletives at two in the morning as she sat hunched over her whirling sewing machine, with bleary eyes and aching back, examining that Butterick pattern and hemming those dresses!

But what a gift of time that was just to make us feel special on this important day. We always went to church on Easter and always sang “Alleluia” several times until the entire congregation had filed out the front door where the church lawn became a proverbial photoshoot with my mother putting us in pairs and groups for the annual, springtime “Smile! Fest.”

Another interesting tradition was going to my grandmother’s house with my cousins for the annual, Easter egg hunt. Only years later, did I again appreciate the reality of it, or rather the unusual secret. The eggs were frozen and used year after year. We were never allowed to eat them (nor would we want to, of course). Only hunt, gather, and refreeze. One of my grandmother’s well-honed attributes was thriftiness.

Still, I appreciate the time and sacrifice of the adults in my life who wanted the kids in the family to be kids, running around in our matching outfits and gathering eggs to enjoy Easter. It is a special time full of hope and promises of spring. And fond memories. Who knew frozen eggs were a metaphor for redemption, rebirth, and other Easter themes?

I still am filled with peace whenever I hear the hymn “Alleluia He is Risen today” and am filled with amazement when I see the many pictures of us dressed alike. I am filled with laughter when I think about the Easter egg hunt with my cousins and those frozen eggs. And I’m filled with gratitude when I reflect on all the memories I have of a happy childhood.

In many ways, these are the kinds of memories a writer hopes to instill in their readers after having spent time with their work and characters. A memory to hold onto with fondness.

What were your fondest Easter traditions?

8 Comments

  1. What a great writing of your Easter memories. Thank you for sharing. (I never knew the eggs were frozen, that’s pretty gross!)

  2. The stories about Mammy are always my favorite. Thanks for sharing I didn’t know she made your dresses like that! Miss her everyday.

  3. Oh my goodness! I remember those particular dresses I might have even had one like it but a different color 🙃 and those eggs were gross ! I don’t even think they sell them anymore 🤪. Love that you have so many fond memories of all that hard work your mom put in at Easter !!

  4. Thanks Denise for sharing this reflection. It reminds us all of our childhood memories of special holidays with those we loved the most ❤️ The photo is adorable!

  5. I love the reminders of long ago! Yes, I remember the importance of Easter/Spring! I loved dyeing the eggs…even though I was by myself as my daughter wasn’t interested in it. I wore a special new outfit…you guessed it…she wasn’t interested in it. But now I can share the feeling of fun, hope and excitement with my grandsons…who are interested in it! I always ate the ears off the chocolate bunny first!

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