I was the first one up this morning and spent my alone time doing a bit of research. What kind of research? About Easter!
Before today, I saw various tweets, posts, articles and pins about the many different ways religions celebrate Easter. When one of them talked about Christians celebrating Christ's resurrection while also talking about the prospect of including Easter eggs in the celebration, I began to wonder just how much of the traditionally pagan celebration of Easter was changed (or, rather, Christianized) so that Christians can still celebrate Easter just like everybody else without committing some kind of sin.
This got me doing a bit of research, both in a book I have about ancient Celtic traditions and on the Internet. Easter is named after the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eastre (or Eostre/Ostara/Ostera). Her sacred animal is the hare, where we get our Easter bunny from. Because spring is a time of rebirth, eggs, which symbolize birth, became a symbolic part of ancient traditional Easter festivities. Because it was a celebratory occasion, the eggs were dyed with the juice of plants, vegetables, or any coloring agent that was handy. As to the tradition of hiding them, children would gather eggs before spring and hide them in various parts of the home. They were gathered together on Easter to eat. Of course, in order to Christianize Easter, the Church made eggs represent the resurrection of Jesus. One story goes that on the day Mary Magdalene went to visit the tomb of Christ, she carried with her a basket of hard boiled eggs to eat later. When she discovered the tomb was empty, she found that the eggs in her basket were now a bright red. (I REALLY have to wonder if this is actually based on historical record or just some story made up for the purpose of Christianizing what is a traditional pagan celebration.) Here, too, the tradition of hiding eggs comes into play: During Lent, eggs were forbidden. Easter usually arrived when Lent came to an end, so they were allowed to "find" eggs that had been hidden away and feast on them again. In the Jewish tradition, hard boiled eggs were eaten during Passover. Likewise, the egg hunt echoes the traditional "matzo hunt" Jewish children participate in at this time. So whether a person is celebrating Easter as a Christian, Jew or as a pagan, the Easter eggs still play an important part in the festivities.
Anyway, we're not religious, and we don't go to church for Easter services. So we just celebrate Easter without much religious emphasis on it.
My daughter is usually tomboyish, but lately, she has wanted to occasionally be girly and do "girl things." (Side note: I am not girly. I hate skirts/dresses. I wore jeans today!) So I was surprised when she told me she wanted a nice dress for Easter. After some planning, I took her to JCPenney the day before Easter, because that was when they had their BIGGEST sale on Easter clothes. Also, I got coupons in the mail, so thanks to these strategies, I was able to get her a nice pair of dress shoes for only $4.99! We were really stoked about that. Jennifer couldn't believe she only paid $5 for a nice pair of dress shoes. (Hopefully, this is a nice introduction to her on how to be a savvy shopper.) I also got her a $42 dress for only $21 (it was on sale and I used my coupon). NICE! Another local store, FredMeyer, was also having a huge sale the day before Easter, so we got Jesse his suit for under $15 -- at 50% off!
I let my kids eat candy for breakfast on two days out of the year: Easter and Christmas. So Jesse was excited to have candy for breakfast, as well as bacon that I cooked. (I had waffles.) When he learned I was making a cake for our Easter dessert, his eyes lit up and he said, "CAKE!" Haha. It was cute. Yes, we had cake – a PINK cake! I had gotten the wrong icing, though (d'oh!) so hubby had to get the right kind from the store today.
While I was having my coffee this morning, I spent some time texting friends and family to wish them a Happy Easter. I also logged in at Facebook to wish people a Happy Easter.
As to the egg hunt, I had noticed the weather was calling for rain today. So far, we hadn't had rain, but I was worried about getting it done BEFORE it started to rain. So we had the egg hunt and guess what? It started to rain right when it finished! In fact, it stormed pretty bad, complete with sleet and thunder.
Then the rain stopped after about 10 minutes and the sky was clear again. (Ah, life in the Northwest!)
Easter dinner was really good. We had ham, mashed potatoes with gravy, carrots, deviled eggs, green bean casserole and dinner rolls. This year, hubby was pretty active helping out in the kitchen to cook dinner. I always enjoy cooking with him in the kitchen. We make quite a team! Our Easter dinner was quite a feast and we were all stuffed afterward.
We really enjoyed Easter this year. Happy Easter!