I know what you’re probably thinking, “Easter? Still? Really?” That’s so last week right? So yes, it’s pretty much a distant memory for most, I understand, but here I am blogging about it anyhow. Then again judging from my feburary post of past, this may be a trend with me. Does it really matter, though? Because, honestly, post-holiday reflection is actually where its at! It holds so much promise of more sweetness to be wrung up from them. Yes, I live fully and deliberately in the moment, but I often feel like a lot of life’s sweetness lingers on in its after taste – looking back on the fine moments that life gifted you with. Probably, one of the many reasons I take far too many photographs.
Photographs, for me, keep those memories crystal clear. They act like an instant worm hole where I can feel every emotion, and all those details as if I was right back there in that moment again. Of course, there are some memories which need no photograph to keep them ablaze in the mind and heart.
Many of these for me, I believe, are so because they were crafted amidst the swirl of our family holiday traditions. Our Easter traditions, whilst extremely simple, did not fall short of this at all. We had modest ones, yes – mostly centred around the kitchen- but, oh my, did they stick.
My mom helped my dad hone his hotcross buns skills over the years, so every year my dad would make batches and batches – for us , for our neighbours (muslims and Christian), and just for a whole bunch of people. Just like his mother used to make. I’d be right there (sometimes my brother too), pyjama-clad, kneading right along with him. And as a little, I was most chuffed that he even allowed me to knead. That is, of course, until I got upset that my little hands couldn’t knead as well as him, so I’d get demoted to just making the crosses instead. Obviously, with age, and all that wrestling with my brother that eventually paid off, I could knead amongst the best of them.
But the point is, the best damn home-baked hotcross buns were a guarantee with my Dad there, along with some really great pickled fish, courtesy of my mom and brother, Max. My dad and I would rise early, slink downstairs and get cracking on the buns, as well as my favourite part: painting the eggs.By the time everyone else woke up, our home was filled with glorious scents of aniseed and freshly baked goods wafting through the hallways. In this, for me there was beauty in the simplicity and a wholesomeness to our way of celebrating Easter: All of us gathering, taking the day slow, together breaking bread that was made by hands who also happened to love us dearly.
But when my dad passed on, so did all of our Easter baking traditions. It felt as if we all had begrudgingly turned a page, of a book we really loved, that we were not done reading yet, so as to not face the uncomfortable reality of embracing Easter without him. I remember hesitantly asking my mom about it at the first Easter after his passing, and all she could muster was a subtle gesture of “no”, as she attempted to explain with, “it’s just that….” But she didn’t need to go further – the void was well-understood.
We instead turned to the store-bought variety and praised its tastiness, although none of us never ever said out loud how much it fell short of the real deal, and all that it had encompassed.
That is, until my brother, Rolff, just put it out there this year – how about some home-baked hoss-cross buns (as my nephew used to say). My brother’s simple and heart-felt request to my mom was all that it took to reawaken parts in her. He might not have even have known how much his request to her may have done or meant, but it was clear to me as she excitedly told me all about it. I’d like to think that it was like that switch had been flicked back on in all of us. This past Easter, my mom brought us together through old traditions, and held us even tighter by reminding us of the tools for life she imparted onto us – simple prayers for when we are at a loss.
Yes, it won’t be the same without my father there. In fact, it will be very, very different. But you see, the beauty and warmth in the traditions that my folks instilled in us, is what actually never dies. And that,right there, is the magic of tradition – so much can be passed on to the next generation through simple beautiful rituals that we share together, and with it, all the love that ever came along.
Yes, I felt the pangs of loss that each passing Easter since his death represented to me, but this year, in the comfort of my mother’s loved-filled baking, at the table with my family and rekindling of old traditions, I found a healing in it. And certainly look forward to passing this tradition onto our children. There is no doubt that this is a tradition worth keeping alive.
Also as per our tradition, we don’t plan our menu. We just gather with whatever you have or don’t have. We celebrate that He is risen, and take delight in each others’ company. For us Easter is also the time where we toss away the food eating rule book and eat anything and everything together. So it’s the chicken pie, prawns, fish, and red meat all getting along nicely on your plate rubbing shoulders with the home-baked buns, pumpkin pie and paella, while poor old toss salad over there, standing on the far side of the lunch table, has no one to talk to.Throw in some sporadic doses of obligatory chocolate throughout the day, and what you have right there is a fine recipe for… Indigestion? Maybe. But mostly, guilt free Easter indulgence.
Clearly, eating’s our favourite, so we spend a lot of time around the table. Of course, we did miss my eldest brother and his family. Anytime anyone of my siblings is not there, it’s very noticeable. But he and his family are also starting new traditions of their own. And whilst I missed them, I thought it was lovely. Family holidays afterall, do present opportunity to instill years of new favorite memories into our own little families.. Hopefully next year,though, we’ll all be there together again.
Then in other tradition news, before heading off to lunch at Grandma’s, we spent a lot of our Easter morning egg painting. Egg dyes and food colouring pens clearly bring the ladies of our house lots of joy.
It doesn’t take much to get my little beasty, Pax, to help out in the kitchen. All she needs to hear is me tinkering around the cupbaords, with clanging of cups and plates, and she’s comes running, pushing her chair up to the counter beside me. In fact, I loved how she saw me in Grandma’s kitchen, abandoned her play, pulled up next to me at the counter as she cleared her space, and asked, “what we making, mama?”
My little, Morgy, however, not so much. But mention drawing, and she’s all over that.
Oh, and do you know what else is also a tradition? Me thinking I’m all prepared for Easter morning and then- oh surprise- I’m not. There’s always something, right?. The predictable result is me having an overly excited little tot,ready to bolt out the gates,raring to just go out there and find those little fake bunny feet, while I’m hollering back with a desperate “just two more minutes!”. Not suspicious at all, mom. Not. At. All. Oh and, of course, let’s not forget how I, after putting hand-drawn and cut bunny in a “special place”, so that I won’t have to look for them, only spent up until almost midnight the night before trying to locate said “special place”. (Can’t believe I used to roll my eyes at mother, whenever she forgot her “special place”. I get it, mom. I so get it!)
What also seems to becoming our Easter morning tradition, is Morgy’s complete and utter disinterest in the actual basket that I slaved over in order to find more bunny feet. “Mom, can we do that again?” That is, until she spots the books I stashed in there.
Pax has however, learnt to keep her eye on the prize – why follow the feet, when you can spot that basket a mile a away and cut to the chase. Seems I’ll need to get more crafty with hiding spots next year.
A day of traditions from beginning to end. Some old, some new, and some beautifully rekindled ones too. But all with the same purpose: celebrating with intent, and creating wonderful memories by being intentional in the way we choose to spend the day with each other in love, joy and appreciation. Here’s to more of that and keeping it alive for generations to come. Also, I just noticed a fun useless fact: this post was depicted in practically reverse order.
Hope your Easter was just as satisfying. And hopefully not as tiring. 🙂 X