14
   

Your Easters: then & now.

 
 
msolga
 
Reply Thu 9 Apr, 2009 07:45 pm
Easter, when I was a child, was an utterly wretched time, till Easter Sunday, when we could break the fast & be allowed to be happy again! Very Happy That was (Easterm European) Catholicism for you .... interminable church services, endless Stations of the Cross ... no singing, dancing (anything that a little kid might actually consider fun) was allowed because, as we were told again & again: Christ died for our sins! On Easter Sunday (at the Ukrainian Catholic church in Melbourne, where my family often chose to be, rather than at home in the country), the boys got to kiss the girls - exchanging greetings of "Christ has arisen!" (in Ukrainian) to each other Smile ... but only after what felt like 10 hours of church service first! Picture me as a stoic 5 year old (with stomach rumbles from fasting since midnight) waiting, waiting for it this excruciating, sombre service to finally be over! Then, off home (or the home of the family we were staying with) for the traditional feast, in the early afternoon. YAY! Survived another Easter! Very Happy
Needless to say, after years of this, I grew up to happily become a heathen!

My Easter holiday is now a time when I ensure that I have absolutely no obligation to do anything I really don't have to do! Easter here is traditionally a "get out of town" holiday, when hoards of people head off to the country for the last holiday before the winter sets in. All the freeways are now super busy & at the end of the break we'll be hearing mightmarish news reports (car accidents, fatalities, tempers flaring at the slowness of the traffic, etc ..). So this seems an excellent time to stay in the city, where things are very peaceful! I have made absolutely no plans for the next few days, though I've hired a number of DVDs, which I'll watch if the spirit moves me. I've bought some food & wine that I fancy and I'm in the middle of a wonderful page turner (novel), which I can read till 3 am, if I want. I may or may not contact some friends later on today. I'll see. Looking out my window I see it's a beautiful calm, sunny day. So I think a long walk may be in order this afternoon. Hey, this is the life! Very Happy
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Apr, 2009 07:47 pm
So ... if you're in the mood, I'd love to hear some recollections of the Easters of your childhood. And how you choose to spend Easter now.
I wonder if any of you spend Easter pretty much the same way as you used to?
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Thu 9 Apr, 2009 08:19 pm
I have similar memories. We celebrated both Easters, the Roman Catholic and the Russian Orthodox. The fact that Catholic Easter was usually in the waning winter /early spring, it was usually cold and blustery. My family had these really lame rituals that involved being seen in new clothing and driving around with the top down no matter how cold. Easter egg hunts and chocolate rabboits with their ears bitten off. A week off from school was what I liked most because My friends and I were conducing "research" in exploring the many caves and sinkholes in our limestone valley. They had to call the cops to find us once and everybody got their asses whupped for involving the law ( Icould never figure out the logic of that one--we werent lost)
Fishing and helping in th garden were things that stay with me and I try to recapture by being a more concerned steward of thye soil.

My preent religious quotient is roughly zero but Easter (both) were kind of beacons in time of the incoming lighter and warmer days . I have absolutely no feeling about the religious significance or even the social significance to my Russian forebears but I do keep in my minds eye, the many vistas of the land greening up . I especially remember the deep almost blue green color of the rye fileds and alfalfa while all the trees were still mostly leafless. The one time of year when I would be really appreciative of the expansive presence of grasses.
Green Witch
 
  2  
Reply Thu 9 Apr, 2009 08:36 pm
I had it good. My family is predominantly Jewish, but a few goys have snuck into the fold and I grew up in a WASP neighborhood. For the suburban Christians of New York, Easter was (is) a time of candy, colored eggs, and new clothes. My parents were very sincere in wanting me to know other religions and they let me go to church sponsored Easter egg hunts with my best girlfriend. I always got a new hat and a pair of black patent leather Mary Jane's for the event. I was probably 12 years old before I found out that the Easter Bunny wasn't in the New Testament .

Editing to add my "now" - Now I think of it as the start of my gardening year. I sometimes buy marshmallow peeps, but they usually go stiff and stale before anyone eats them.
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Thu 9 Apr, 2009 08:39 pm
@farmerman,
My memories are similar but different. The highlights were around the time we lived in Evanston, Illinois, from when I just turned nine until I was well into thirteen.
I remember a week off, but a lot of it was taken up with endless, endless, endless church services, oh, yes, and fasting. The good part was that we (mother, father, me) had three families across the street that helped jolly up the scene. Mrs. H. had saved egg shells for months and we colored them to make an easter egg tree.
That was fun, a table surrounded by us all with the egg dyeing. Meantime, Mrs. H. made her usual angel food cake with seven minute pastel frosting for ..ah, their sunday dinner.

I remember a new coat and hat most years in that particular set of years.

I did like the extravaganza of easter sunday mass, with the fulgent organ playing during the gloria.

My own small family dinner in those times was usually nice.. table cloth, some kind of roast.

Somewhere in there, my dad made a silver dollar pancake breakfast for the neighborhood kids.. perhaps that was on Saturday morning.

Mostly good memories. My family hit tough times not long later, evermore more dismal, much drearier easters. I'm not even a smidge religious now, though I don't entirely despise religion or many people who are religious (just some elements and some people) - that's been discussed all around on other threads.

Some easters then had a bit of snow, and most had an outcropping of spring bulbs, an incipient greening. We played outside some winter days, at least for a bit, even in the coldest weather, but started playing outside more so around easter. Baseball in the schoolyard, for instance. Spring!
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Apr, 2009 08:40 pm
@farmerman,
Ah, a fellow childhood sufferer, farmer! The horrors that parents & church inflicted on us little kids! Wink
(I always really enjoy reading your stories of your community experiences.)

Interesting that your interests & Easter activities have stayed pretty much the same over the years. Once a scientist & nature lover, always a scientist & nature lover! Only difference is that your involvement is legal & respectable now. Very Happy

Quote:
... A week off from school was what I liked most because My friends and I were conducing "research" in exploring the many caves and sinkholes in our limestone valley. They had to call the cops to find us once and everybody got their asses whupped for involving the law ( Icould never figure out the logic of that one--we werent lost)
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Thu 9 Apr, 2009 08:42 pm
@msolga,
Easter was fun! will try to find some photos tomorrow - hamburger's got the best ones, but I know I've got a few.

msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Apr, 2009 08:55 pm
@Green Witch,
I envy you, Green Witch, growing up in such an elightened family atmosphere. What a revelation: Easter can actually be fun! Wink

Quote:
I was probably 12 years old before I found out that the Easter Bunny wasn't in the New Testament .
Very Happy

And, of course, At Easter time in the northern hemisphere you'd be heading into spring & the joys of one's garden! Best time of the year! Wheras here, in the southern hemisphere (obviously), it's when the weather is getting colder, days are getting shorter & darker & most of the gardening activity is geared toward the things that need to be done before winter, when the cold sets in. Kinda shut-down, gloomy Easter stuff. Wink
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Apr, 2009 09:11 pm
@ossobuco,
Thank god for Mrs H across the road, osso! Sounds like she made your day great fun, many a time! Smile

A couple of questions, if I may: What were/are "silver dollar pancake breakfasts"?

And I notice that both you & Green Witch mentioned getting new clothes (shoes, coat, hat) at Easter. Is there some sort of US tradition about new clothes at Easter? (I recall some Judy Garland (I think) song referring to an "Easter Bonnet" ...)

You didn't mention your Easter traditions now. Not a very important time for you, perhaps?
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Apr, 2009 09:14 pm
@ehBeth,
Oh yes, please, do post them, ehBeth!
I find childhood photographs fascinating. (I loved those that edgar post today in his tribute thread to his brother.)
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Thu 9 Apr, 2009 09:32 pm
@msolga,
Snort, I don't even know (or care) when easter is. I kind of get a clue when people start to mention passover.

Yes, at least in Evanston, new clothes were a tradition, and I presume that was somewhat common in at least some other places. Our winter coats had faux furry linings, we had boots and leggings and mittens, scarves, knit caps, etc. Easter meant a lighter coat for the growing child, and I suppose adults. Hats for church - and luncheons back then - didn't have to be so warming.

Silver dollar pancakes were small, approximately the size of a silver dollar, which.. was something around 1 3/4 to 2" round (that's a guess). Served, of course, with butter and real maple syrup.

I'm not sure those times were on easter weekend - that might have happened at the next one. So goes memory.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Apr, 2009 09:47 pm
@ossobuco,
Quote:
Snort, I don't even know (or care) when easter is.


Obviously you weren't made to suffer enough as a child, osso. Wink
It took me years to not feel a kind of melancholy when Easter loomed. Very miserable associations.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Apr, 2009 10:55 pm
I'd imagine that, for those of you with small children, the experience of Easter would have a whole different meaning than it does to some of us older, hardened cynics.
Please don't be put off from posting here because of some of our views. We're pretty harmless, really .... Wink
0 Replies
 
saab
 
  2  
Reply Fri 10 Apr, 2009 01:52 am
Until in the 50th (?) as I really can´t remember it that clearly God Friday was a very sad day in Sweden, TV did not exist, radio only played "funeral music", all restaurants were closed also theatres, moviehouses etc.
I can remember one God Friday when it was bad weather and the family wanted to play games - children games - and the curtains were pulled in case some neighbours would see it!!!!
Saturday was fun. The house was decorated as they still are with birch tree branches with coloured feathers, witches, rabbits, chickens, roosters and coloured eggs. Children dress up as witches. Both boys and girls dress up as witches. A witch also carried a broom and an old fashioned coffe pot. Then we used to go around and give away a homemade Eastercard and for that got a coloured egg or some sweets. As I lived on the west coast it was on Saturday, in some parts of Sweden it is on Thursday
Monday was a holiday until a few years ago.
I can´t remeber much of going to church, but the religious part of Easter was still important to the family.
Easster Sunday of course a nice easter dinner is served preferable with Easter beer.
No new cloths for Easter - it was too early for new spring or summercloth.
That was saved for 1st of May which also is a holiday.
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Fri 10 Apr, 2009 05:37 am
@ossobuco,
Ive managed to put out of my memory all the incessant goings to church and visiting the relics and , (the lamest), we had a tradition of visiting all the other Catholic Churches on Holy Thursday.
Im ignoring the Russian Orthodox side . That celebration was, a few weeks later, and several notches lower on the excitement scale. The prelate, if he showed up at the "Ukey" church (St BAsil 's) he would be dressd out like a white christmas tree, with knots of relics on his vestements and censors and incenese that would play a role in my later interest with drugs.

Its amazing how, after both sides of our family , were similar style christians, how they managed to get along so smoothly. No big culture wars or fights about "transubstantiation or Consubstantiation".
Father Gallman of the Roman Catholic Church and Father Micheal of the Russian, often were golfing buds and went fishing together , so I guess there was some degree of compromise allowed in the liturgical worlds.

I also remember Eugene Ormandy"s orchestral version of Rimsky Korsakovs "Prazdnik overture". Lotsa frenetic activity in very cold weather. My dad would always play the album .
I guess the roots that religions provide are somehow missing in our own kids generation since weve not been believers.



sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Fri 10 Apr, 2009 07:13 am
My family never did much for Easter. My mom would get me an easter basket, which I looked forward to, but that's about all I remember. Passover has more memories/ associations, since I'd often spend it with my grandmother in Florida, over spring break.

We went to a real Seder last night, it was fabulous actually. Sozlet sat through the whole thing (it was long!) and read her parts with great aplomb (she did the four questions but also just read various parts, same as everyone else as we took turns around the table). She had the best time, which surprised me a bit since it was long and somewhat tedious and talked a lot about a god we don't believe in, but she loves rituals and traditions and she was the focus of a lot of explanations, which she enjoyed a lot.

But that's a digression.

For Easter here, we have a community egg hunt on Saturday (mayhem, kids sprinting everywhere), then I do an Easter basket for the kid that's on the table Easter morning, and then an egg hunt at home after everyone's dressed, etc. We'll also probably do eggs (just dying hardboiled eggs).

Oh, that's something from when I was an older kid -- I love making Ukrainian Easter Eggs. I'd do that on my own or with friends of my mom's every year from when I was maybe 12 or so until I left for college. Then still did a few after that, too, haven't done them in a while though. (So fun to wipe off the wax and reveal the design...)
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Apr, 2009 04:59 pm
@farmerman,
Quote:
That celebration was, a few weeks later, and several notches lower on the excitement scale. The prelate, if he showed up at the "Ukey" church (St BAsil 's) he would be dressd out like a white christmas tree, with knots of relics on his vestements and censors and incenese that would play a role in my later interest with drugs.


Laughing

Quote:
Its amazing how, after both sides of our family , were similar style christians, how they managed to get along so smoothly. No big culture wars or fights about "transubstantiation or Consubstantiation".
Father Gallman of the Roman Catholic Church and Father Micheal of the Russian, often were golfing buds and went fishing together , so I guess there was some degree of compromise allowed in the liturgical worlds.


This sounds downright civilized, farmer! I'm amazed, really. In my neck of the woods these things were highly political & quite unpleasant .... with the "other side" considered the enemy! (No wonder I became so turned off religion!)


edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Fri 10 Apr, 2009 05:14 pm
It was all about eggs with us. We had the egg hunt and candy, and that was it. Today, my wife and I pretty much ignore it, since the kids all grew up and live too far away to involve us with their kids. Pretty much a non event. Even my job does not take it seriously. We get a day off, during the week, but not everyone on the same day.
djjd62
 
  2  
Reply Fri 10 Apr, 2009 05:16 pm
@msolga,
Quote:
I was probably 12 years old before I found out that the Easter Bunny wasn't in the New Testament .
Very Happy

Comedian Bill Hicks on Easter

"I was over in Australia during Easter, which was really interesting. You know, they celebrate Easter the exact same way we do, commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus by telling our children that a giant bunny rabbit... left chocolate eggs in the night. Now... I wonder why we're fucked up as a race. I've read the Bible. I can't find the word "bunny" or "chocolate" anywhere in the ******* book."

msolga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Apr, 2009 05:17 pm
@sozobe,
Quote:
We went to a real Seder last night, it was fabulous actually. Sozlet sat through the whole thing (it was long!) and read her parts with great aplomb (she did the four questions but also just read various parts, same as everyone else as we took turns around the table). She had the best time, which surprised me a bit since it was long and somewhat tedious and talked a lot about a god we don't believe in, but she loves rituals and traditions and she was the focus of a lot of explanations, which she enjoyed a lot.

But that's a digression.


Not at all, sozobe. This is what many A2Kers would have been doing last night, as well .. Easter & Passover, the same time. Knowing little about Jewish religious belief & rituals, I Googled "Seder" & this is what I found:

Ritual meal served on the first night of Passover, commemorating the flight of the Jews from Egypt. Presided over by the head of the family, the Seder follows a liturgy, the Haggadah, that reminds participants of the story of the Exodus. The ritual includes blessings, the pouring of wine, and ritual questions about the meaning of the event ("Why does this night differ from all other nights?") asked by the youngest child present. The meal includes unleavened bread and bitter herbs, the bread symbolizing the haste with which the Israelites left Egypt and the herbs symbolizing the bitterness of slavery. A cup of wine is poured for Elijah, the precursor of the messiah.


... and enjoy the community egg hunt tomorrow. Sounds like Sozlet is having the best time! Very Happy
 

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