I had a doctor’s appointment Friday afternoon, and it was starting to rain just as I was leaving the doctor’s office. I looked at the time as I got in my car. It was a little after 2:00. This immediately took me back to when I was young, and we spent a fair amount of time in church during the Easter Triduum – the period of time between Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday. The hours between noon and 3 o’clock on Good Friday were especially sacred, and in the Catholic parish where I grew up, we always spent part of that time in church. We lived just a few blocks from the church, so we always walked there and back, and it seemed that we always got rained on as we were either coming or going, even if the sun was shining earlier or later in the day.

That’s what came to my mind as I was driving home from my doctor’s appointment. And that got me thinking about other holiday memories and traditions.

On both Christmas and Easter, I work hard to keep the religious significance at the forefront of the day and the season. But that doesn’t keep me from enjoying all the other traditions and rituals – both religious and secular – that go along with the holiday celebrations. Some change over the years, as children grow up and go their own ways, and then their children grow up and do the same.

Other rituals can stay the same as long as we want them to. I still always make or contribute to a traditional dinner – turkey at Christmas, ham at Easter – whether there are a dozen people around the table or just my husband and me. I no longer color Easter eggs, which had stayed a tradition for me long after my kids were grown and gone, but I did try making an Easter Lamb cake for dessert this year, just as my mom did every year while I was growing up. That didn’t work out, though, as cake batter leaked from my slightly dented cake mold, causing the back half of the lamb to lose its shape. As I was trying to do damage control, the lamb’s head broke off completely. That’s the point at which I decided to make something else for dessert.

We went to an early Mass on Easter morning, enjoyed a quiet day and dinner, and did some “normal Sunday” things, such as looking ahead at the coming week’s schedule and planning out the week’s activities and events. But I also spent part of the day, as I often do, looking back and remembering the rites and rituals, the people and places, of Easter celebrations – from recent years, and from long ago.

April 10, 2023
©Betty Liedtke, 2023

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