Between Easter egg hunts, the Presidential Egg Roll, and peep eating contests, Easter in America is pretty far from its religious origins. For some, Easter still means dressing up in their Sunday best and attending a sunrise church ceremony to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. For others, it means something completely different. An American Easter, for most people, is about spending time with family and doing activities that symbolize the start of spring. While there are still many people who view Easter as solely religious, there are definitely some wacky traditions that have become a standard part of celebrating the day. Here are a few American Easter traditions…
A few weeks before Easter, shopping malls are usually decorated in pastel colors, fake grass and flowers, and of course, the Easter Bunny. The Easter Bunny usually sits on an elaborately decorated chair, and children sit on his lap and have their picture taken. It’s similar to what happens in Christmas, when children sit on Santa’s lap. To the right, I’ve included a picture of a pair of siblings who are clearly not impressed with the Easter Bunny. To be honest, I’m not completely sure why children are forced to sit on the Easter Bunny’s lap and I am glad my parents never made me do it!
Every year, like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny brings presents. They’re usually smaller trinkets and candies, and they come in an Easter basket. In my family, the Easter Bunny liked to play tricks by hiding the Easter basket from us. After we woke up, my siblings and I would spend a few hours searching high and low for our baskets. The hiding spots got more complicated as the years went by. Hiding spots included behind furniture, inside kitchen appliances and even outside of the house. Nothing was off limits. This has been part of our Easter tradition for as long as I can remember. I assumed it was just how the Easter bunny worked. So, Imagine my surprise when I found out that all of my friends just awoke to their Easter basket, filled with goodies, at the end of their bed. They were so lucky!
While hiding Easter Baskets is not necessarily traditional, hiding Easter Eggs is. Each year, my family hosts an Easter egg hunt. The object is to find as many plastic eggs as you can. They are filled with goodies and sometimes money if you’re lucky. It’s always a race to find as many eggs as you can before the others, especially when there is money on the line.
Similarly, the President typically hosts an Easter event called the “Egg Roll.” Each year, children crowd the South Lawn to move eggs across the grass with a paddle. I don’t think there is any money involved but it is still a fun event. Every president has hosted the annual event, but we’ll see if the newest president keeps up the tradition.
Each year, restaurants fill with reservations for what is called Easter Brunch. Brunch comes from the combination of the words breakfast and lunch, and usually includes foods from both. Think chicken and waffles, omelets, seafood, everything. It is usually eaten in the late morning or early afternoon. Also, it is common to dye and color Easter eggs. Usually, you use hard boiled eggs and dye them different colors. Additionally, the days leading up to Easter, grocery store aisles are filled with Easter themed candy. Chocolate Easter bunnies are a great excuse to eat a lot of chocolate. Peeps are another common candy. They’re just marshmallows shaped in the form of chicks and covered in sugar but people go crazy over them. Every year people debate the best time to eat them. Some say they’re best from a freshly opened package. Others dry them out and eat them when they are stale and hard. Either way, Easter food is a treat.
What about you? How do you celebrate Easter?
Does your family do nontraditional things or do you stick to tradition?