Easter is just around the corner!
One activity which is traditionally enjoyed by children of all ages is the Easter Egg hunt. As a child, this annual event took place at various friends' houses. All of us as youngsters would look forward with great anticipation from spring to spring when we would gather to decorate dozens of eggs. They were usually white, thereby making the muted colors as vibrant as possible. As we grew older we became adept at using wax pencils, stencils and other enhancements to create more spectacular eggs. I still can smell the vinegar and visualize the wonderful messes which we were almost encouraged to make for a change.
Magically, the Easter Bunny managed to hide all of the eggs by the next morning. He is one busy avatar what with assembling all of those baskets and hiding all the eggs. By late morning, the boys were all dressed in freshly pressed shirts and trousers and the girls were resplendent in their Spring colored party frilly dresses and new patent leather shoes. Little seems to have changed. Mothers do still enjoy turning out their children nicely upon occasion.
Onto the adventures of the all important Easter Egg hunt! I can scarcely remember an Easter Egg hunt that was squelched by bad weather. The excitement of finding the first egg and feeling your eyes suddenly turn into purple or blue or orange egg honing devices. There were usually a few special eggs that might have coins taped to them. There might be some gold or silver dyed eggs that the Easter Bunny created and hid in unusual spots. For the most part, all the eggs are found. If the kids don't find them, the dogs or raccoons eventually do.
One of the more adult past times has been the famous egg toss. This is best played towards the end of the day. The eggs are not boiled, as they are for those wonderful dyed eggs, but kept in a lovely breakable state. Teams of two people are paired and begin facing each other about 5 feet apart. One tosses the egg to the other. If successfully caught (without dropping or otherwise breaking), the two step back a pace or two. The egg is then tossed again and as this process is repeated and the distances increase, there is great anticipation as to just how far this can go. I remember one year successfully tossing one egg over the entire house to win the contest and the accompanying prize.
Other fun games that I recall are the favorite egg race, where we would race from one point to a finish line carrying an egg on a spoon. If you dropped your egg, that would be a disqualification as would breaking any other rules such as holding the egg onto the spoon with a wayward thumb.
Of all of the memories of Easter, most involve many generations of friends and family getting together and for a day of fun, delicious food and a celebration of spring. Easter baskets would often times have packets of seeds to plant in the garden. After all, as we all know, Easter is an important Christian holiday which celebrates the resurrection of Christ. It also serves as a symbol of rebirth and renewal of many forms of life.
There is an unfortunate custom of giving children small chicks or bunny rabbits as new pets. This is a cruel tradition on several counts. First of all, it traumatizes the small animals, most of whom wind up being grossly neglected or abandoned after the initial thrill quickly wears off. This mismatch of small children and small animals often leads to sadness on the part of the child too. With little effort it is easy to find more suitable ways to show our children that we love them. Please resist falling for these cute young animals. Stuffed toys animals are a wonderful alternative.
No matter how you celebrate Easter, remember that to many people it is an important holiday. Be respectful of those who celebrate by attending church services, dressed in their spring finery. Easter is a time of year, a punctuation mark on the calendar, when families and friends join together as a community, demonstrating civility and kindnesses which we can hopefully carry throughout the year, or at least until the next punctuation mark comes along. Happy Easter everyone!