Hopping Down Easter’s Memory Lane

Come as I hunt down some cracking Easter nostalgia!

I have many fond memories of the Easter holidays, more so when I was younger of course. I find that the younger you are, the more enjoyable holidays are. For the last few years, instead, my break is filled with university work. Easter 2022 is particularly choc-a-block (punny) with dissertation work and worrying about what on Earth I will be doing next year.

Back when the break truly was a break, Easter Sundays were filled with Easter eggs, chocolate rabbits, and seeing the extended family on Easter Monday. As much fun as Easter is, I have to admit, I never found it as grand as Christmas. Nevertheless, I do have some memorable moments and fun ‘traditions’ and memories that I think are worth sharing.

I can’t remember which year this was, but it snowed about a decade ago or so. As a child, I thought nothing of it snowing slap bang in the middle of spring so I was ecstatic. I rushed out to the garden to build a snowman and spent a good few hours frolicking in the snow. I think I made a snowman, although a snow bunny would have been more apt.

Of course, I was immersed in more traditional Easter activities. I’ve always been fond of decorating in general and the Easter holidays would give me another opportunity to do so. As a whole, the Moody household’s Easter decorations are a nostalgic amalgamation of old and (not that) new and even a mix of cultures. I find the mixture of decorations quite apt since Easter is a holiday that I associate with family. Some of these decorations have even been through three generations! They look a little dishevelled but they’re lovely items to remember those family members we have lost. If every decoration was new, I feel that the family aspect of the Easter spirit would be lost in our household.

My household has a mix of cultures and it’s interesting to see how each culture differs. Niki Symeonidou, the previous Events Officer for York Entrepreneurs Society and current Events Officer for Greek and Cypriot Society, told me of a rather smashing tradition:

“[We would] paint eggs red and smash them with each other on Easter Day.”

From some quick research, the red dye represents the blood of Christ, and the eggshell represents his sealed tomb.

I remember adorning the Easter Tree with home-crafted Easter eggs using chicken eggshells and paint. You may be wondering what an Easter Tree is. In essence, the ‘tree’ part is made up of pussy-willow branches; branches that have these fuzzy buds on them called catkins. They’re named after cats since the bud resembles a tiny cat paw (adorable). I do remember also picking off the fluffy buds to make ad-hoc mini teddy bears. I’m unsure where this family tradition comes from but I do know that I plan to carry this tradition on. Although I haven’t blown any egg innards out of chicken shells to make eggs this year, hanging up the ones I made as a child is nostalgic. What adds another layer of nostalgia is hanging up the ones my mum and her brother made when they were young children. A few of them are quite broken but it looks like I attempted to do a bit of a DIY job with sellotape a few years back.

Old meets new; German and British meet Chinese; Shop-bought meets DIY

Of course, the Easter Bunny visited every year! Being an only child had its advantages since I would automatically get all the chocolate eggs. Marti Stelling, Vision’s Editor Secretary, wrote to me about her egg-citing (and very diplomatic) Easter egg hunt:

“I’m the second youngest of five kids, so Easter was always an exciting time in my house. The day would start with chocolate eggs for breakfast. After Sunday dinner, we would go round to my gran’s house for an egg hunt. This was one of my favourite parts of the whole year. My siblings and I would look around the house (or garden depending on the sunny, northern climate) with wicker baskets collecting little chocolate eggs. My gran would always dye some hard-boiled eggs red as well. After we’d found them all (my gran kept a list), we’d tip our baskets out on the table and divide them between the five of us. Very prairie, I know.”

My mum, dad and I used to see the extended family on Easter Monday. At that time, I was essentially the baby of the family so I was spoiled with more chocolate. However, whenever I was gifted a Lindt Bunny I wouldn’t eat it. I would gather the chocolate rabbits I received and make them into a family unit. The bigger ones would be the parents and the smaller ones would be the children. Not wanting to tear the family apart, I would refuse to eat them. More and more family members would be added to the collection and the years went on. Fast forward to now, I have only just realised that was quite a waste of quality chocolate. I’ll be receiving one this year and I’ll be sure to stress-nibble on it when term starts again.

Talking about chocolate bunnies, Katie Preston, Vision’s Editor President recalls a disappointing Easter tail:

“I’m not really sure if we have any Easter traditions! My family isn’t religious, so usually, it just ends up being me, my mum, dad and brother eating loads of chocolate with a takeaway on Good Friday! We usually go to the pub to see my Grandma over Easter too. I remember once when I was younger I’d gotten a chocolate rabbit for Easter which I was ecstatic about – so much so I savoured it and only ate one of the ears. Cut to the next morning, I came downstairs and discovered my Dad had eaten the whole rabbit except one of it’s feet! I then had to share chocolate with my brother – not a very good chocolate haul that year!”

Like with many celebrations, food is often one of the main attractions. Being an only child often meant I became bored, very quickly. In order to occupy me, my mum baked with me. One very traditional bake is the simnel cake: a fruit cake topped with a layer of marzipan adorned with twelve marzipan balls to represent Jesus’ twelve disciples. I don’t think our household was particularly religious so baking the cake was much more of an activity to keep me occupied. The main issue for me though was the cake itself – I don’t really know many young children who like fruit cake and I was one of them. Of course, I baked treats more palatable for a young child. For instance, I made chocolate cornflake nests, topped with mini eggs and biscuits in the shape of rabbits, coloured with icing.

In relation to traditional Easter foods, lamb is the traditional meat for an Easter Lunch. This is rooted within Christianity, as the lamb represents Jesus. By eating lamb, we remember Jesus’ sacrifice. Our family adhere to this, less so due to the religious connotations but more so that it’s just a thing we do. I said this last year and I’ll say it again. It’s horribly ironic that many families across Britain celebrate Easter, the celebration of new life, with eating new life. I won’t go on a vegan rant (I’m not even vegan) but I do think this is the one tradition I will skip in the future. I actually think Easter lunch is a perfect time to go vegetarian and celebrates the birth of new life by not eating it.

The egg-citement of Easter begun to ware off when I left primary school. To be honest, I do see Easter as more of an excuse to eat a chocolate egg for breakfast and as a day of relaxing with your family. I had attempted to increase the Easter mood, such as with nail art. I tried to do it again this year but lets just say the rabbits look like they’ve been through too much.

My ‘skills’ seem to have r-egg-ressed

This year, I think Easter should be a pretty relaxed day, consisting of eating chocolate, spending time with my parents and actively avoiding any university work. I look forward to the Easter’s in the future, where my traditions and experiences can help shape future celebrations, and where new traditions can emerge.

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