America has this reputation that bigger is better. If you have traveled overseas, then you know that not all countries serve their food on plates that can fit your Thanksgiving turkey and Costco is a phenomenon pretty unique to us Americans. And so I shouldn’t have been surprised that Easter down under wasn’t what I was used to. I have been in Germany for Easter and while it isn’t as commercial as it is in the good ol’ US of A, it was definitely a marker that spring had sprung and that is pretty exciting when winter means days go by where the sun never shows its shiny face.
But it’s fall here. Celebrating Easter in fall, so strange! Easter is the biggest holiday in church calendar, and it was obvious that that was the case at the little church next door as well. They had services and vigils from Thursday through Sunday. But that didn’t mean that there was all the “to-do”that I expected.
My trusty friend, Sophie, who was visiting from Australia became my go to gal for all things “Easter Down Under”. First question, “what do you guys wear for Easter?” Because I can’t imagine dressing up in new spring dresses, it wouldn’t seem right. But do they dress up like we dress up in fall colors like we do for Thanksgiving? Nope. You just wear your normal everyday clothes, no dressing up necessary. Well, that was just too difficult for me, and so we got dressed up and went to church. Despite the build up to Easter with services the 3 days prior, everyone was there in there REI-type attire and kids in mismatched leggings and t’s.
After church, when we all gather in the hall for morning tea, I asked a few folks what their plans were for the day. Nothing special. Just a normal day. That is so interesting to me, because the school holidays start on Good Friday. No school or government office is open on Good Friday, not Easter Monday. And then the schools are off for the next 2 weeks. So, while we commercialize Easter and make it a big money maker, many of our schools have actually gone away from having their spring break back up to Easter.
Lastly, Easter baskets are for collecting eggs from your egg hunt, and not used like a Christmas stocking that gets filled on Easter morning. Children receive chocolate eggs from grandparents and/or parents. Some are giant like we see in the stores, and others are sold like a dozen eggs. But for the actual egg hunt they hide small foil wrapped chocolate eggs, not the plastic filled eggs. While I haven’t traveled the island to see if this is how it is done with everyone, this is what we experienced at Clover’s music class and at the end of the Easter service at church. And my trusty friend for all things Easter Down Under says that is how egg hunts in Australia go as well. Thanks Soph! 😉
There was definitely a sense of freedom this holiday for me. Being away from home, I felt free to break tradition. Among my 10 pieces of luggage and 5 carry-ons, you would think I would have room to fit 3 plus Easter baskets, but no. An unopened jar of mayo and cocoa powder took precedence apparently. I put in an order with the Easter bunny to deliver to Nana and Papa’s before they left Annie’s bunny mac n’ cheese and bunny crackers (Thank you Annie’s brand for being my “stuffer savior” for 6 years now with your bunny mascot) as well as new slippers for the girls. So while Tatum was worried that the Easter bunny wouldn’t know where she lived, he delivered. Easter morning surprises and an egg hunt at the church, and we were good. The rest of the day was a fly by the seat of your pants kind of day and we ended up going on a walk and having lunch at the Botanical Gardens where we huddled under 2 umbrellas at our outdoor table as it started to rain quite heavily for about 20 min. Luckily it let up before we had to walk home.
While we did miss our annual neighborhood Easter gathering and celebrating with family, (Brian’s parents were here, so we weren’t totally alone which was nice.) we were happy to participate in some new Easter traditions for us. Nathan hosted a Seder, modified because of two 3 year olds and a 1 year old, which was followed by watching Prince of Egypt. And then, on Good Friday morning Sophie made delicious homemade hot crossed buns. Yum!