A tradition is, by definition, something that is repeated year after year. Even so, traditions change over time. Kids grow up and go off on their own, families that used to live within a few miles of each other are now spread out across the country, and lifestyles of days gone by simply don’t fit our way of life anymore.

Easter, like Christmas, has both sacred and secular traditions, and I now find myself thinking about all the Easter traditions I have taken part in over the years.

As a young girl attending a Catholic school, I spent much of Holy Week – the week leading up to Easter – in church, taking part in various religious services. At Mass on Easter morning, my sisters and I would be all decked out in new dresses, ruffled socks, white gloves, and Easter bonnets. Not the fancy kind you see in movies like Easter Parade or in photos of the British royal family, but rather the kind held in place by a thin elastic cord that pinched your neck and often broke after being worn once or twice.

We always got our Easter baskets blessed on Holy Saturday, after coloring Easter eggs on Good Friday – the only fun we were allowed to have on that day – and after my mom and grandma had spent several days cooking and baking.

When I had kids of my own, Easter baskets and colored Easter eggs were still part of our holiday traditions, along with Sunday morning Mass followed by a festive family dinner. Years later, when the kids were grown and gone, my sister and brother-in-law – the only relatives who lived nearby – would come to our house for Thanksgiving dinner, and we would go to theirs for Easter. Although we live too far away to do that now, I treasure the memories of that tradition.

I’m pretty sure no one will be enjoying their normal Easter traditions this year. The coronavirus has upended everything, from religious services to Easter egg hunts to large dinners with extended family. But that might make this the perfect time to look at ways we can adapt our old traditions, or perhaps adopt some new ones.

As we stay safe and sequestered at home, we can still “attend” religious services through online and live-streaming means. And if we’re not going to be preparing a huge Easter dinner, we can spend some of that recovered time reflecting on what Easter means to us. We can touch base with our family and friends through phone calls or any number of video options, and we can make a point of being grateful for the blessings that are still in our lives in spite of the pandemic.

Whatever you do this weekend, and however you celebrate Easter – if you do at all – I hope you stay safe and healthy. I hope you will keep in touch with those you love, and who love you. And I hope you’ll look forward to the time when you can enjoy whatever traditions – new or old – the future holds for you.

Happy Easter!

April 10, 2020
©Betty Liedtke, 2020

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