We looked forward
to Easter eagerly, as that was a wonderful holiday after the
long winter and a time to celebrate.
In my childhood, Easter had nothing to do with egg hunting or an Easter bunny hopping around the garden, hiding eggs for the children to find. I grew up in a mountain village in Switzerland and things were very different then.
At that time, Easter was primarily a Christian holiday, celebrating Jesus’ rise from the grave. Lent was the six-week period between Carnival and Easter, and we were encouraged to make small sacrifices then to honour Christ and get ready for Easter. In most households, people did not eat meat during that time. Meat was more a treat than a staple, anyway. We only ate meat on Sundays. During the week, our protein came from cheese, eggs and beans. So living without meat for six weeks was not as great a sacrifice as it would seem to us now. I remember my mother letting us children choose what sacrifice we wanted to make. It was usually simple things, like putting away a favourite toy for that time, or doing a special chore every day.
We looked forward to Easter eagerly, as that was a wonderful holiday after the long winter and a time to celebrate. It was the time to shed winter coats and show off the new dresses we girls always had for Easter and new shoes to go with them. My mother spent many late evenings sewing new dresses for us with fabric she had bought with what she had saved all winter from her household money.
On Easter morning we went to church wearing our new finery and enjoying the fact that the long winter was over. After church Mother served up a feast of ham, pork ragout with mushrooms, mashed potatoes or egg noodles, carrots and peas which had been put up in sealers the summer before, and finally a wonderful torte, decorated with sugar roses and leaves and served with whipped cream. We might also be given little treats of candy.
After dinner we kids went in search of spring. Usually by Easter there was still quite a bit of snow around, but on the sunny sides of the hills there were patches of snow-free ground. We looked for new growth on these areas and sometimes in the more protected parts, we discovered crocuses.
It was a simple time with simple enjoyments. Things have changed considerably and I’m sure that by now the Easter bunny has found my little mountain village. I’m also sure that the children who live there find more sophisticated ways of enjoying themselves. Times change and we change with them, but I still vividly remember those innocent and carefree days.
– Joyce Slobogian writes from Brandon, Manitoba and
is the author of To Die For, available at Pennywise Books
and Candlewood Books in Brandon.