Is Easter Different Now?

Now before you start getting mad at me and calling me all kinds of names I really don’t deserve, read what I’m talking about. Don’t just look at my title and assume you know what I’m going to say.

Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m going to say until the whole post is written.

I’m talking about how the day itself seems to be looked at now. As opposed to when my generation was growing up.

When I was going to school we always had Easter vacation, you know, like Christmas vacation. We were off on Good Friday and Easter Monday, and if I remember correctly, our week off started the Monday of Good Friday week and we went back to school the Tuesday after Easter.

But over the years that’s changed. Now the students have Spring Break.  Which can be any week in March, or April, so it seems. And not all school districts have the same week off, which makes planning vacations a bit difficult. And then college is a whole other story. I have no idea how those breaks are scheduled, and lots of time it’s not the same as the elementary and high school schedules. And they don’t necessarily have off on Good Friday, which to many families is a holy day.

Seems to me they’re trying to make it around the best times for the kids to go to beach weekends, if you ask me. But of course no one did.

On another note, when I was growing up, we always dressed up in our newest and best clothes for Easter Sunday. We girls wore new hats, just like our moms and grandmothers did, plus new white gloves and purses to go with our new Easter dress. Oh, and don’t forget the black or white patent leather shoes! 

Little boys had new suit jackets and ties (clip on, of course), and we all had pictures taken before we went to Easter Sunday church services. Then we all got together for a big family dinner with as many family members as possible. In my case, my two uncles and their wives even came down from Philadelphia to our little hometown on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, just so we could all be together.

Our parents hid real colored eggs outside for us to find, and of course, Easter Sunday morning started with checking out the big Easter basket the Easter Bunny had left for us after we went to bed. I remember not being able to open it (the bunny wrapped it with cellophane) until after church, but I very carefully looked all thru it thru the cellophane and wondered what it would all taste like! Of course I always had a big chocolate bunny and one of those sugar eggs with a hole at each end so you could look at the scene inside. I don’t know why I was so fascinated by them, because you certainly didn’t eat them.  But they were the centerpiece of that basket every year!

Now today, things are different.

Gone are the days of dressing up and showing off Easter hats and new dresses. Our daughter does get Easter outfits for our granddaughters, but not necessarily fancy dresses, and this year I can guarantee Baby Ryan will have his “first Easter outfit” for family photos. How can we resist that?!

We’ll have a special Easter brunch at a local restaurant, with jelly bean Bellinis (don’t judge until you’ve tried one!) for the adults and Easter drinks for the grandkids with jelly beans as well. Then it’s back to our house for an Easter egg hunt with tiny gift-filled plastic eggs, and of course baskets the Bunny left at our house for them. 

The grandkids’ baskets, though, aren’t the candy-filled creations I had growing up. Yes, there is some candy, but it’s more arts and craft items, jewelry, and nail polish. Baby Ryan’s will have teething toys. The Easter Bunny is getting more creative every year.

Many towns used to have Easter parades on Easter weekend, lots of times with hat decorating contests. And I’m proud to say my aunt actually won first prize one year with her Easter hat, featuring an Easter egg tree on top. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture though.

Up until Covid hit, we went to Easter services every year. Sometimes the kids joined us, but usually they met us somewhere for lunch afterwards. Now we still haven’t started back to attending church, and we’re not sure where we’ll go when we do. 

But that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten what Easter means, and why it’s so important to Christian believers. However, I’m not criticizing anyone who has a different belief than we do. Nor will I accept anyone’s condemnation of us for not going to church if we are believers. It is our choice for now. Yes, I do miss it, but when it’s time we will return.

Yes, Easter traditions and celebrations are a lot different now than they were 60+ years ago. And those celebrations were different than those of the preceding 60+ years. Things do change. 

The way we celebrate Easter may change, but the Easter story itself doesn’t change. It continues to remain the most significant and important belief of the Christian community, no matter how we celebrate it. It’s the greatest story of love and redemption the world has seen.

May each of you have a very Happy Easter, however you choose to celebrate the day.

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