It is Easter Day in the western Christian tradition and in many churches "Alleluia" rings out in hymn and acclamation for the first time since Lent began. I love this word. Be it whispered or shouted or sung, it is a word that for me is overflowing with gratitude, hope, humility, triumph, and joy. I cannot say it without a smile crossing my lips, a warmth rising in my heart, a tickling of joy sparkling through my soul.
This has little to do with any religious experience or celebration, and everything to do with my childhood memories and the family traditions that were and still are the Easter celebrations. When I was a child, Easter day was the climax of days of preparation, most of it having to do with cleaning. My room, the floors, the dining room table and, maybe the windows. Oh, and one other task - polishing the silver.
Fifty plus years ago, Good Friday was the day my mother, sisters and I gathered around the kitchen table to polish 8 full place settings and serving pieces. If we were hosting the whole "fam-damily" then the coffee urn and tea service were added to the polishing list. There was something very comforting about removing stains of darkness and renewing shine and sparkle.
Saturday was the day we decorated the eggs for the Easter Bunny to hide. I don't recall there ever being a concern about how a bunny who hides eggs and Jesus rising from the dead were connected (or not!). They were separate events that shared the same timing. No conflict at all, at least not in my family. Easter morning we all rose to go to church (after the Easter egg hunt of course!). There we sang the great hymns, inhaled (and nearly fainted from) the fragrance of gazillion dozen Easter Lilies, and wished everybody a Happy Easter. Then it was home for the grand feast celebrated with family gathered around the dining room table.
Nowadays, we are a family of blended faith and traditions. Our Easter is shared with those celebrating Passover (Hebrew greeting: Chag Sameach!) and those who will celebrate the Pascal Feast a week from now in accordance with the Julian calendar (Serbian greeting: Hristos vaskrse, responded to with Vaistinu vaskrse).
I am blessed by the richness that these traditions bring to my table.
I am blessed by the love we share.
©2018 April Hoeller