For those of us around the world who celebrate Easter, the holiday is one of the most widely anticipated and celebrated. The popularity of Easter is sometimes on par with Halloween and Christmas, though the meanings behind one culture’s Easter can be different from their neighbors’. For me as a child, Easter was something worth getting excited over, because what child does not like candy and spending time with family?
I started thinking a lot recently about how Easter has changed for me over the years, though. It made me wonder if others had the same confusing emotions about growing up and unintentionally being separated from what makes Easter special.
For the past couple of years, I have spent Easter away from family. Traveling abroad usually, always happens at the beginning of the year for me. As fortunate as I am to see the world celebrate Easter from a different perspective, it makes me realize how much my view of Easter has shifted dramatically.
Before I could remember, my mom delighted in gussying me up in Easter dresses and taking me to be professionally photographed, then to church. I still have some of the stuffed animals I would receive as a reward for not being fussy.
As far as childhood memories are concerned, for me and others, Easter was all about getting dressed up, dying eggs, getting surprised by family members with baskets loaded with goodies, and the thrill of the Easter Egg Hunt.
I somehow always won these hunts, because I was doggedly determined at finding the most difficult eggs. Then there came the dinner of traditionally cooked ham, where everyone gathered around the table to talk excitedly. There was a warm feeling associated with Easter. I was almost always excited about it.
Of course, as kids turn into teenagers, nothing is fun anymore and is almost always a bother. Easter became almost a bore… and not just because I thought so. This is when kids begin worrying if all that chocolate is going to make them gain weight or cause their skin to break out.
For me, I also had braces to deal with, so chocolate was ultimately out the door. Gradually, as the family started breaking up over issues, so too did our big dinners and excitement. The older generation started to pass away, leaving empty seats available at the kitchen counter.
I stopped dying eggs because it was considered a waste. Plus, I was forever scarred by the moment my father picked up a decorated egg that had been on display for several days and ate it.
When I told him it was a week old, his face went green, and he exclaimed, “I am going to die!” He is still around, of course, but the thought that I could have unintentionally given my dad food poisoning deterred me from ever dying eggs again.
As an adult, I am sure I am not the only one who looks back fondly on those childhood memories. Especially when I see the glow in the eyes of the rug rats racing around the candy aisle in the grocery store or the plastic eggs, stuffed animals, and Easter garb. Yet, several years went by without any Easter festivities.
It was not until my trip to Hong Kong this year that I was invited to do anything even related to Easter. As I sat in the plushy bar, surrounded by people sipping champagne and beer, was it that I realized how Easter is not just about bunnies, fertility, religion, and chocolate. Easter is about making memories.
The bar supplied us with free-flow alcohol, hard-boiled eggs, and personalized shot glasses. We were to decorate our eggs (everyone got two). Then at the end of the evening, after having wine and dining on rather untraditional offerings like mac and cheese and spring rolls, we were to exit the building, eggs in hand, to stand at the top of a hill.
Now mind you, this is in the middle of downtown Hong Kong. The Chinese merchants nearby were quite intrigued with a group of Americans, Brits, and Aussies chucking their eggs down the hill to see who got to the bottom first. It was the most catastrophic egg rolling ever—but it was worth every single moment.
As I waded through the eggy carnage, I thought to myself: Do we ever really grow up? Does Easter really change? I like to think not. Easter will forever be a day of eggs, celebration, and candy.
Children, yours included, will laugh just as you did; and the traditions instilled in you will be gifted to them throughout the years. As long as you have Springtime in your heart, the joy of Easter will never fade.