When I was a child, I loved Easter. It signalled two weeks off school – yay – and a huge stash of Easter eggs. I’d receive eggs from my parents, grandparents and all my aunties and uncles. Nom nom! They’d sit on the sideboard in our study at home (an internal garage converted into a room which was always cold – perfect for chocolate storage) tantalising me with their shiny foil promising chocolatey deliciousness. I don’t remember doing Easter egg hunts and I don’t remember there being an Easter bunny. Perhaps these are newer trends or perhaps our family simply didn’t embrace these traditions.
I attended Sunday School back then so I was always very aware of the real meaning of Easter. On Palm Sunday – the Sunday prior to Easter Sunday – the churches in our town would unite for a service in the Parish Church in celebration of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem prior to his crucification then reseurrection. This was preceded by a parade up the high street by the uniformed organisations following ‘Jesus’ on a donkey. I was a member of Girlguiding from Brownies through to Rangers and would join the parade each year. We weren’t permitted to wear coats as our uniforms needed to be displayed proudly. Brr! I can remember spending many a parade shivering, blowing on my icy cold hands, desperate for the parade to end so we could get into the warmth of the church – only to discover the church was just as cold! I can also remember the hilarity of trying to dodge the donkey droppings as well as the couple of occasions when the donkey emptied its bowels in the church. Luckily there were flagged floors rather than carpets!
After I left home, I had many years Easter egg-less. It never felt right treating myself to one so I only got one if I had a boyfriend at the time. I remember one boyfriend buying me one when we were at university. It was a Cadbury’s creme egg one in the shape of a juggler where his tummy was the hollow egg and the juggling balls were two normal sized creme eggs and several mini ones. I was meant to take it home to eat over the Easter holidays but he gave it to me far too early and I couldn’t resist. By the time term ended, I’d eaten the entire contents but had pressed the foil back into the plastic moulding so it still looked untouched. Was that naughty of me?
When my daughter was little, I organised the occasional Easter egg hunt for her and some friends in our back garden or in the house if the weather was bad. We’ve done a few Easter crafts over the years but Easter has never really been a big thing in our house. We’ve never decorated the house. It’s never been a time when we’ve got together with the extended family for a big celebration. My husband and I are both self employed and home-based so the long four-day weekend doesn’t mean the same as it did when I was in paid employment. More often than not, we’ve had to work over part, if not all, the weekend. And, because we live in a popular seaside resort descended on by hoards of visitors on bank holidays, we’ve always made a conscious decision to stay home all weekend to avoid the tourists and the traffic snarl-ups, promising our daughter a day out the following week instead.
This year, the residents of the UK (and many other countries around the world) have spent Easter in isolation and, for many, this will have been the first key family occasion since lockdown started. Families have been unable to meet. There’ve been no trips out. No parties, no picnics, no big family barbeques. National parks, heritage sites, and attractions are shut. Coast and countryside have urged visitors to stay away, stay home, stay safe with police positioned at key entry points into tourist resorts, turning away those who seem to think that they’re special and none of the rules of isolation apply to them. Businesses that normally embrace Easter as the start to the ‘season’ have no idea when – or even if – their ‘season’ will resume. And, of course, there are those working tirelessly in the NHS and caring roles, the other emergency services, in supermarkets, factories, and transportation who are trying to keep our country running under extremely challenging circumstance. My love and respect to every single one of you.
Churches world-wide have been closed and services have been online or individually held at home. My mum is the organist for her village church and she’s played during Good Friday and Easter Sunday services conducted via Zoom. She’s embracing the technology although said it was slightly odd when she finished playing and the singing continued for another half verse. The joy of the time delay!
For my immediate family of three, it has been like a ‘normal’ Easter bank holiday weekend where we’ve stayed at home and my husband and I have worked, while being very aware that everything about this weekend is not ‘normal’ at all.
I’ve been working non-stop since we isolation hit without a single day’s break. I knew this weekend would be no different but I made a conscious decision to take four days off from the day job. I know I’ll regret this when I see the queue of assignments waiting for me to mark when I log into my work email tomorrow, but I needed a break from marking. I’m on the first edits of another of the books from my back catalogue that Boldwood Books are going to re-release – Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes – so I’ve spend the weekend so far working on those. It therefore feels a little more like Christmas to me than Easter right now!
And I’ve been eating a very large Maltesers Truffle Easter egg which I broke into at 10am on Saturday. What do you mean, that’s not a healthy breakfast? Ooh, and I tried a creme egg yesterday for the first time in years. They’ve always been a favourite but I’d boycotted them after Cadbury’s changed the chocolate recipe. I think I’ll be boycotting them again. Very disappointing.
How was your Easter? Would you normally have spent it with family? Did you do anything virtually instead? Does the Easter bunny come to your house? Did it when you were a child? I’d love to hear about your Easter traditions and what you did this year instead.
Stay safe everyone. Love and hugs