With new intentions (which are going well, I think), and new beginnings, come new traditions around here. As Easter fast, it brings with it reflection for me.
I was raised in a protestant home, and went to our Methodist church every Sunday. But Easter Sunday was bigger than the rest; it required a special dress—usually a gift from one of my grandmothers—and gloves, the dreaded tights, and a small purse. I think the purse was my favorite part of the tradition—a grown-up item of delicate fabrics, often beaded or embroidered. It was a lady-like place to hide my childhood treasures: a broken egg-shell found along the tree-line near the back pasture, or the pilfered candies I took from the jar near the piano.
Easter was a mix of frivolity, piousness, primness, and mischief. We dressed in our finest, prayed with a particularly heightened sense of faith, and—I, at least—were extra-careful to keep our ankles crossed in a ladylike pose while sitting in the front pew awaiting Children’s Moments. And mischief: after all the quiet prayers and somber hymns, we children would all race out onto the church lawn directly after Sunrise Service to find Easter Eggs crammed with chocolates and mints and whatever else. we had our baskets and our legs, and we heartily fought to procure the most eggs the fastest. There was nothing graceful about this—I clocked one boy across the neck in order to get more eggs. He flew into the bushes, and I didn’t stop to help him up. This was an Easter Egg Hunt, after all, so it was considered fair sport.
My household doesn’t celebrate this way now. I’m sure, in years to come, we will visit our share of Easter Egg Hunts and secular celebrations of the holiday. But my appreciation of the holiday is different now. I would say—if one insisted upon a categorization—the nature of this holiday is, for me, more of pagan than Christian. I revere the earth for her bounty, and am thankful for the seasonal shift that brings us light again. I feel closer to the earth, and feel a particular warmth for the new life all around us. I have a sense of tradition, yes, but I think it reaches deeper than my childhood, and past generations of church-going Sundays. I feel as though my soul is pulled further back in history, and it makes me want to raise my children with an appreciation for so many aspects of this season.
This is why my husband and I have erected the Seasonal Tree. It began as a reason of space: we didn’t have the space to store the Christmas tree. But then we talked about how decorating the tree for one holiday seemed kind of dismissive of all the other perfectly good holidays and seasons. So we decorated for Fall, for Halloween, for summer and her red-gold fiery days. We talked about how, one day when we had more kids, it would be nice to teach them to appreciate every season, and be thankful and joyful in every holiday. So now we make our own Easter pretties, put up the Spring wreath, and happily decorate our tree.