by Michelle Grover
“So what are you doing to celebrate Easter this year?” a friend asked.
And to be honest I wasn’t sure. With church gatherings resituated to online streaming, retail stores stocked with cute little Easter dresses closed up last week, and official directives not to gather with others in our homes, it hadn’t felt much like Easter. But there was something in her question that stirred me to reconsider my response to this holiday.
In the Christian tradition, the crucifixion of Jesus made for a somber Passover season where holding on to hope was in grave jeopardy. The disciples’ world was turned upside down, their expectations were dashed, and they didn’t have confidence about what the future would look like for them. Not unlike emotions we’re facing here 2000 years later.
So what are some ways to redeem this season and enjoy Easter during COVID19?
Here are a few ideas:
Embrace the season as one that’s suited for quiet reflection. Lie in a hammock and count your blessings. Take some time to think, go for a walk, start a journal.
Decorate simply. If quarantine has done nothing but encourage us to get back to simpler times, let us learn the lesson well. Pull out items you’ve collected over the years and remind yourself to hope. This is a season to celebrate life and hope – set in stark contrast to what we would otherwise be tempted to focus on.
Buy fresh flowers. Easter lilies were only $4 at Ingles this week. There are also local flower farmers that have a beautiful supply but limited venues for selling. There’s something truly life giving about flowers in your home.
Try natural dyes for eggs. Last Easter, a friend here in TR taught me how to do this using staple kitchen items and tiny flowers, herbs, and clovers to make beautiful patterns and colors. Onion skins dye the shells a warm brown; turmeric, a golden yellow; blueberries, a lovely soft purple; purple cabbage, a gentle blue; and beets, a lovely red. The flowers, herbs, and clovers can be held tightly to the egg with a cut strip of women’s hosiery, fastened by twisting a bread bag fastener. For most colors, simply boiling the egg in the water with the dye ingredients will be sufficient. Adding a bit of vinegar to the water helps some colors (like the beets and cabbage) to set better. Do let the eggs dry before taking off the hosiery with flower/herb.
Make a traditional meal for your family. I love introducing my family to recipes from a variety of traditions. My sister shared a lovely white borscht soup recipe in our family’s WhatsApp group. It’s basically a potato and sausage soup with sour cream that’s topped with a hard boiled egg and dill and served as an Easter breakfast meal in Poland, where my dad’s family is from. We’ve also enjoyed matzoh ball soup, traditional Jewish fare for Passover, during this season. It doesn’t have to be fancy to bring comfort and nourishment.
Reach out if you are struggling. Though local churches are suspending gatherings, most of them have services available online. And local ministers tend to be great at connecting people with resources and support in times of need. Additional resource connections are available here.
It’s important for us all to face the realities we’re experiencing but also to look forward to better times ahead. Stay connected. Check on your neighbors. And have a happy Easter!