Judee, thanks for giving us your memories. I have many, all tossed together like a salad, I guess.
I was raised in two religions, Catholic (my mother) and Methodist (my grandparents). As a result I have no time for prejudice of any sort as all religions mean the same to me....honoring God and my fellow human beings and, especially, taking care of my brothers and sisters.
Ah yes, the egg dying. How could that always be so messy? There were never enough cups or small bowls to cover the eggs...remember trying to write on them in a wax crayon? I liked to do them in stages of color and that always meant holding them up in the dye to a certain degree for a length of time. However, what was Easter without the dyed eggs?
Because of where we lived, w. PA, it was generally a pretty cold, cold day. Thus the large Easter basket was hidden inside. I remember high-school friends helping me put it together and I always had an egg parade leading up to the basket itself. You cut the decorations out then, and affixed them to the eggs so that it looked some years like a band and other years like circus characters. It took a lot of time and I don't know how anyone did it alone. We always had the yellow marshmallow chicks, and then a really big egg of quality chocolate and some smaller quality chocolate pieces. My mother was British, and she found the best of the family-making chocolatiers. We didn't have a lot of it, very little, but it all looked pretty and everyone was quite thrilled with it. If the weather was warm enough, some club say, the Rotary, would hide eggs and money in plastic eggs along the Park and its river. People had a great time there. A parade would be had with dogs dressed up, the usual crepe trikes and more candy.
Of course for dinner everyone had ham, but again b/c Mom was British, we had a leg of lamb (first sign of spring...or some had salmon). Give me lamb. We'll have grilled lamb chops today. My father cooked a whole Hubbard squash and we just enjoyed a peaceful (for us!) meal. We children always made an Easter cake as mom didn't have time for dessert. Plus those teeth that could so easily be ruined had to be worried about!
The days of Lent were what led to Easter as the pay-off. Friday's were a day of complete sacrifice of food until a fish dinner. That was later changed and no one seems to just eat fish on Fridays. It was a bit difficult in a small inland town...we had fish, but it was the frozen block variety & took forever to thaw. I like Palm Sunday as they came in waving the large palms, but I sure didn't like the length of the sermon.
Mom didn't believe in a lot of sweets for children, thus that egg would last almost until Friday of the week following Easter. As I grew older and worked in a large Greek community at one time, I adopted some of their traditions. (Long after I had left home.) My name is a Greek & British one, and both my daughters have Greek/European names. I would make a bread, braid it and put colored (beet colored) eggs in the dough. The eggs cooked in the oven, but I never ate them as I'm not an egg lover. The dough was a nice, barely sweet one. Oh, and we always have beet colored and vinegar covered eggs. Pickled eggs....my husband loves them and makes them to this day. They're a lovely color and have a slight taste of many different spice in them. That's both British (white eggs alone) or Pa. Dutch (German). Of course what would Easter be without deviled eggs that's what America is....a coming together of many traditions and I've always embraced that about it. I can remember buying some (what seemed to us) expensive patterned Hungarian eggs one year. My daughter smashed every single one of them....I later tried to reproduce them from a magazine, but as I've said before, an artist I'm not.
I think a ham is the usual traditional American meat to have. Other countries have their own customs, and we always attended Passover celebrations when possible. I don't to anything for Easter now...religion left my life for various reasons, but I do miss the traditions and the old songs (in Latin) and prayers. I like making other people happy, It thrilled me to see my brothers and sisters enjoying it so. I should mention that my particular memory didn't include my now-dead grandparents, and my father would be dead the following Easter. As a result everything is near and dear to my heart....nothing is ever taken for granted. Long dead people are once again alive and my gratitude diary is a living one...each and every day of my life.
Thanks for helping me lay out the memory, Judee, and thanks for sharing your special one with us. Yours, Lenora. (I know I don't have to add that, but I think something written should always be accompanied by a signature.) No, I don't do it for everything.