Easter Fun Traditions

Easter Fun Traditions

Roslyn Celebrations & Gift Ideas Easter, Spring

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Easter fun traditions? Is it your local Easter Day Parade or gathering with family? With young children at home you may be thinking about egg hunts or find yourself packing dyed eggs and chocolates for Easter baskets. You might even remember the time you shopped for your first Easter outfit. Fun Easter traditions develop over time in every family but how did these universal customs start?eggs-660673_1280

Easter Parade

 In the United States, Easter celebrations did not evolve until several years after the Civil War. The nation started putting aside the painful memories of the Civil War and women exchanged their somber mourning clothing for brighter and happier colors. The New York parade started in the 1870’s as a spontaneous event, as people spilled out into the streets after Easter services and just started walking. With each passing year, the celebrations increased in popularity as affluent women wanted to be seen and noticed until it grew to over a million people in 1947. It has become less popular for live attendance in recent years, perhaps because it is televised. The parade itself is with or without religious significance and anyone and everyone are welcome to join in the fun. Today, the parade is an opportunity for people to proudly show off their “Sunday best” including their Easter bonnets or colorful costumes. We tend to think of Fifth Ave in NYC, from 48th St – 57th St as THE EASTER PARADE, but many small towns have them too. They will probably always remain a key Easter fun tradition.

According to Wikipedia, Easter processions or parades have long been a part of Christian culture. There are records in the Bible of two processions in the first Holy Week that were the earliest precursors to modern Easter parades. The first was Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and the second took place as Jesus carried a cross to Calvary.

Easter Bonnets

Easter bonnets go back to when women acted out the rites of spring while wearing a circle of leaves and flowers on their heads- this symbolized the coming of Spring. Wearing bonnets in a parade is a fanciful way to carry on the tradition and celebrate the coming of the new season.  Easter bonnets today come in all shapes and sizes and typically have a floral motif or are trimmed with feathers and stuffed birds. People vie for attention with their elaborate spring millinery – the more outlandish they seem, the happier the wearer – as you can see in this fun-filled video.

The Easter Bunny and Easter Fun Traditions  

There is no story in the bible about Easter bunnies laying eggs, children painting eggs or hunting for eggs. These traditions have folkloric roots that trace back to 13th Century pre-Christian Germany, when people worshiped several gods.
Eostra was the Pagan goddess of spring and fertility and her symbol was the rabbit due to its high fertility. Eggs were also an ancient symbol of fertility and joined the rabbit as a symbol of the rising fertility of the earth at the Vernal Equinox.

This symbolism was later seen in Medieval European church art and the legends continued through German Lutherism. Their tales told of an “Easter Hare”, dressed as a judge, who came to declare which of the children were deserving of Easter goodies – toys and candies.
These legends came to the United States in the 1700’s when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country. There the practice of building nests for rabbits to lay their eggs in began and developed into the gifting of decorated Easter baskets filled with candy- one of the many lighthearted traditions enjoyed today.

We wish you a fun filled, blessed Easter and an abundance of positive new beginnings this Spring!

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Roslyn
I loved going to work each day for 30 years as a professional career counselor. When I retired, I explored my creativity and regard for crafts until I discovered beading. At age 68 I turned my new found passion- jewelry design, into a business. At age 72 I took on learning about social media marketing and developing my computer skills. I am sharing my journey from inception, to frustration, to elation -in the hope of inspiring others that 'it is not too late to start again'. Welcome to my re-invention!

Comments 49

  1. Lots of family traditions around holidays. For me, thinking about Easter brings a smile to my face as I remember: kite flying, new outfits, a bit of chocolate, and the food at Easter dinner – it’s all about the food!! Maybe those Easter bonnet parades will make a comeback!!

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      The Easter bonnet parade is alive and well and growing in NYC. Men are now wearing decorated bonnets. Sounds like you had really nice memories.

  2. Love how much research you are doing to write your posts Roslyn. Although I don’t officially celebrate Easter, when my daughter was young, we would always do an Easter egg trail through the house leading to the big surprise—a large chocolate easter bunny. It is interesting where customs come from, as so often Passover and Easter are very close together. It has me wonder how the spirit of both holidays have overlapping themes relating to the spring season. Easter hats or bonnets are an interesting way for women to dress up and be seen at their finest, however, as I am not really a hat person, I stand back and admire the creativity and work that goes into creating some of them. Generally I think of Easter celebrations more to do with colour and fun, although the day itself has a more significant and serious meaning. Thanks for your wonderful look at what is behind the Easter traditions we often take for granted.

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      Ah yesBeverley Golden, where do customs come from? After I wrote the foundation for the blog, I thought of an odd tradition a dear friend has at her Passover seders. I recall the first time we joined her family, kids were young and everyone got an unpeeled hard boiled egg. She told us to turn to the person on our left and crack the egg on their head. Then to the right and repeat. Only then were we allowed to peel the egg to consume. I never came across any other household with that tradition which she said her parents and relatives brought from Europe. Thanks for your comments.

  3. Happy Week to you, my friend Roz. This is quite a history on the celebrations of Easter! The holiday, which is one of gala and fun, has religious connotations that are sometimes lost in the festivities and fun. But gee, celebrating a spring holiday in this manner is really a great way to bring in the new season and to remember the joys of renovation and renewal. Thanks for the reminders of the traditions behind the holiday that’s the first Sunday after the first full moon after the first day of spring.

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      Tina Ashburn, we thought about writing a blog post about the ‘coincidence’ of Passover and Easter and along the way decided to focus on the non-religious aspects of the holiday that is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the first day of spring after the first 2 Passover seders.

  4. Since the holiday occurs in such a way that I can never remember how to figure it out, I don’t suppose it’s surprising that it would feature rabbits laying eggs! The video is great fun. I haven’t watched the Easter parade on TV for many, many years and didn’t expect to see so many men wearing Easter bonnets. The history is very interesting and I’m glad you posted it.

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      Beth Niebuhr, I am often surprised too by what I find when I start the research. Decided to stay with fun, non-religious aspects of a holiday we don’t even celebrate. It is the universality of some of the traditions that unites everyone. Glad you enjoyed it.

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  5. You know, I’ve always wanted to wear a well-decorated Easter Bonnet but had no idea of its symbolism. I just thought how majestic I would look with a broad-rimmed bonnet covered in fancy satin and lace with flowers of all descriptions. Now let me go have some fun celebrating the coming of the new season and get some Easter goodies at the same time! 🙂 Amazing info on traditional mythology and ancient cultures Roslyn, makes me look at Easter in a whole new way! 🙂

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      thanks Michelle for your enthusiasm. Hopefully, you are now inspired to wear a broad rimmed hat with some lovely flowers. I agree, you would look smashing, and if you do, please take and post a photo.

  6. I have vivid memories of dressing up in my Easter finest every year as a young girl: frilly dresses, stiff hats, gloves, patent leather Mary Jane’s. This article brought back those great memories. I still love bright colors.

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  7. Whether you celebrate Easter, Passover or nothing at all this is just a fantastic season ! The colors, the sights, the smells…rebirth and renewal…love it all!

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  8. Loved reading that the New York parade started as a “spontaneous event” that became a tradition in the city! What also came to mind is seeing many images of “goddesses” with garlands of flowers encircling their heads, which aligns with the Easter bonnet/hat design. It is a fun and fancy way for women to celebrate and to dress their best. We also see this hat tradition at the horse races in the spring as well, I believe. It got me smiling, as I love colour and Easter and spring are definitely a time when colour is sprouting everywhere. Thanks again for the great research on the traditions behind many of our best loved holiday traditions.

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      Always appreciate your comments that add information to the topic. There are so many ways to prepare for spring and they provide ideas for blogs.We chose to talk about the fun aspects of the holiday. Happy it brought a smile to your face and memories to others.

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  9. Very interesting! I love learning the history and background of this type of thing. You did a great job of summarizing it (and of making me want to go to New York and join in the Easter Bonnet fun!!).

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  10. Our town has a mayor’s egg hunt that has become part of our tradition. They even have one for adults, where they can grab toilet paper, mustard and other household goods!

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  11. So fun, as always! My family participates in egg dying and egg ticking– where you hit the person to your left’s egg around the table at easter brunch until there is a winner. I live near a large Greek community and see many Greek Easter traditions, too. Their Easter is celebrated after ours, but they hold large parties and set off “Greek bombs” in celebration of the holiday. I did not even know such parades existed in New York! Those hats are fabulous. Happy Easter to you, too! God bless.

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  12. What a great post about Easter traditions, Roslyn! I’m always curious about where ideas/traditions come from and loved that you brought the history of the holiday to light. Thanks!

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  13. The first thing I think of is the Easter egg hunt.

    The pastor was talking to the children about the egg being a symbol of the tomb and when you break the egg open in half that is what it could be. It was an interesting one that I hadn’t heard before.

  14. I recently got a BA in Anthropology and I am always interested in different cultures and their traditions (including ours). I work in retail and last month I was asked by some visitors from China,.. why the chocolate bunny. I wasn’t exactly sure and could only tell them our customs are weird. That appeased them. I knew there was more to it, but only had acouple of minutes.

  15. Thank you for the well researched post, Roslyn. I often wondered how an Easter Bunny went about hiding eggs as a child but in true childlike innocence took it as a given. 🙂 My favorite part of Easter as a child was painting Easter Eggs at school which must have been why I started collecting eggs in different mediums later as an adult. My favorite is my green onyx egg from Pakistan.

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  17. Happy Holidays Roslyn! It’s always fun to read your posts, and how true that Easter traditions bring the best out of the holiday, as we share with family. My kids and I have lots of fun with Easter egg hunts. Interesting facts you shared, thanks!

  18. Happy Passover/Easter Roslyn! Your posts are always filled with great information and this one was a great one. I didn’t realize the Easter baskets and eggs traditions began with the Germans in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. I am German and this is the first time I’ve heard of a tradition besides Okotoberfest that they began. I truly enjoyed this post and seeing the Easter hats are always fun.
    Have a great holiday with your family. Tamara

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      You are so welcome Tamara MacDuff. I was surprised by that reference too. It was only listed in 2 sources which might account for it not being widely known.

  19. Thanks for the backstory on the Easter Bunny!! As a kid, I always thought it was odd that a bunny would be hiding eggs. LOL As always, you deliver on cool, unknown facts. Thanks!

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  20. My first thought was the filigree eggs. It’s often a wonder, but you did a great job explaining, how the Easter Bunny ever did make it into Easter and it kills me how now it’s Spring Break, but yet they schools are closed the Friday (Good Friday) before Easter.. ironically a teacher work day. LOL

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  21. Wow! Thanks Roz … That was really, really interesting & informative. Just got around to finish ready it! Thanks again, Ł

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