Babylon News & Muse
Easter is the highest holiday in the Christian religion, and in the past, the churches are more crowded than usual. When I was a child, going to St. Joseph’s School, the seriousness of the period between Good Friday and Easter Sunday was made clear to us. To some extent, we would get excited about it, for the wrong reasons, I’m afraid.
We would usually get at least a new hat and shoes for the Easter service. Of course, there was always the thought of the big Easter basket filled with goodies.
Good Friday was a sobering day, especially the period between noon and three in the afternoon, the period in which Christ was crucified and died. I’m not sure if it was a Catholic tradition, but we were always taught that we were to be silent and thoughtful during those hours. Perhaps it was having seen a movie that included the Crucifixion, but the weather often grew cloudy during that time and reinforced the seriousness of those three hours.
But the rest of the weekend was something all the kids enjoyed. Saturday afternoon we would color Easter eggs. To us they seemed like works of art, but some of them could not be called anything other than ugly!
On Easter morning we would come downstairs and hunt for our Easter baskets. They usually held chocolate bunnies, perhaps a toy of some sort, jellybeans and a few of the dyed eggs. Once we had oohed and ahhed over the baskets, it was time to get ready for Mass.
We dressed up in our finest clothes and went to a late morning service. Of course, I have to admit that a good part of our time was spent checking out what others were wearing and making sure that our lovely outfits were seen. For part of the long service, we tried to behave ourselves and focus on the Mass, constantly being told to sit still and pay attention. But once we left the church, we were like a bunch of puppies, eager to play. I suspect it was a great trial at times for my mother, who constantly reminded us that we were “to be seen and not heard!”
At home we would have a big breakfast at the dining room table and get busy putting the last touches on making the house look lovely. The cleaning and polishing started on Holy Saturday, but always seemed to wind up just before the guests arrived between 3 and 4 o’clock. I’ve never quite understood why we ate our Easter dinner so late, but we still do it today.
As always, Mom would have a full house on Easter, usually about 20 to 25 relatives. Most of the relatives were Mom’s great-uncles and their wives, as well as a few youngish cousins.
Once most of the guests arrived, the Easter eggs were hidden around the yard and we would search for them. Usually, we had several hunts before the weather became too chilly and we would go inside in time for dinner.
I am still a big fan of Easter egg hunts, and once my nephews and niece were old enough, we would help them. Then they began to turn the table and hide eggs for the adults to find. I have to say that I enjoyed that part of the holiday the most.
Today, my nephews are in their 30s and 40s and most of their children are in or close to their teens. They live in Atlanta, New Jersey, and Pittsburgh and usually only one or two make it to Babylon for holidays. Our Easters are much smaller these days, and we feel excited if we have any children present to hunt for eggs. Instead of 25 people, we seldom have 10. But the memories of those Easter egg hunts never seem to fade. All the aunts and uncles, and my own parents are gone, but the thought of them and those celebrations brings joy to my heart each year at this time.
•Don’t forget to get tickets for the Pilot Club’s Spring Fling on Fri., April 28 at the Hibernian Hall on Locust Avenue. It should be a lot of fun and features buffet dinner, open bar and dancing! For more info., call 631-587-5133.
•Also, don’t forget that Earth Day falls on this Saturday, April 22. Do your part and join the Creek Defender Program, sponsored by the Save the Great South Bay organization, from 9 a.m. to noon. South Shore Paddle Boards will lead a cleanup of the Sumpawams, starting at their store at 258 East Main Street. Can’t come that early? Meet us between noon and 1 p.m. on Park Avenue near the grade school to register and help do other tasks in the Village. For more information, call 646-765-7238.
•I’m sending wishes for a happy birthday to Gina Anderson and Jill Grover Hoyler! Have a great day!
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