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Easter traditions in my household of yore.

2004-04-08 - 9:36 a.m.

I’m staring down the barrel of a decadent four-day weekend. While this normally would automatically mean no new entries for four whole days, my husband is, in fact, only going to be taking the usual two-day weekend. He’s been occupying the computer a lot lately (for work-related things, darn him) so I fully intend to spend some time on it while the cat’s away (maybe Monday?), and I probably won’t be able to resist procrastinating with a little time on Diaryland. No promises, just conjecture.

So Easter. You have no idea how hard it was to find out which day was the actual stat holiday around here. Apparently if you’re getting both off, why should you care why?

- Which day is the stat holiday?

- There are two; Friday and Monday.

- No, there’s only one actual stat holiday, the other one’s a government holiday. We get both off but many people don’t. Which one is the one that everybody’s off.

- I’m not sure. Friday?

Lather, rinse, repeat.

There inevitably followed conjecture around the fact that “Good Friday” sounded more like an “official” holiday than just “Easter Monday”. I finally googled it to find out that the stat is Friday.

Now, I’m going to relate our family’s Easter tradition and if I don’t get a chance to update, you’ll have four days to ponder the possible roots of this.

Growing up, like everyone else, we always decorated Easter eggs. We had chickens so I think sometimes we were stuck with the brown eggs that they laid, but my mom usually managed to get her hands on some white ones, which really decorate much better. She’d hard boil them and we’d use various methods to decorate them. Sometimes they’d be immersed in hot vinegar and water solution that we’d added packets of colour to (to this day the smell of hot vinegar reminds me of Easter. What, you never smell hot vinegar? Don’t you clean your coffee maker? And that boiling vinegar and water is great for keeping your pipes clean so pour it down the kitchen and bathroom sinks while it’s still fresh. *Ahem* So back to the eggs…) Often we’d draw on them using food colouring and Q-tips. One forgettable Easter we had these decorative shrink-wrap sleeves which sounded like more fun in theory than practice. After the eggs were done we’d show them off to our dad when he came home and then pretty much forget about them until Easter Sunday dawned… and then it was Easter Egg Hunt time!

My parents would hide the eggs and there is no better place for an Easter Egg Hunt than a farm. We’d have the whole house, yard and barn to search, including the immense hay loft. We’d find eggs nestled in between bales, eggs in the grass, eggs in the well-shed (the little shed that covered where the well was and was a favoured place to play on rainy days), eggs on top of the burlap sacks of animal feed, and eggs, I think once, actually under a matronly chicken who squawked indignantly when we took her brightly-painted potential babies away. One year there was a scavenger-hunt-style egg hunt where one clue would lead you to the next egg and next clue, culminating in the attic where the enormous hollow chocolate eggs, covered in sugar-paste flowers and filled with chocolates, that my grandmother brought specially from Montreal, waited.

Then, after all the eggs had been found, we’d take them out front of the house and bowl them across the lawn to crack their shells. Then we’d go in, finish peeling them and eat hard-boiled eggs with toast for breakfast (and of course, chocolate for dessert).

This seemed totally normal to us growing up. It wasn’t until we mentioned this to others as teenagers (and sadly, had grown out of such traditions) that we realized that, not only did not everyone do this, no one but us did this. I think it was a tradition that my father brought with him from Scotland. Certainly no one I knew in rural Ontario had ever heard of it. I don’t know what the tradition represented or what its origin was. Feel free to drop me a line to enlighten me if you have the inside scoop.

Happy Easter!

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