My family has a family tradition at Easter time in that all the young children build Easter "nests". The purpose of the nest is that is where your "special" items are placed from the Easter bunny and then random eggs and candy are still all around the yard. But the nest would hold stuffed animals, or maybe an Easter outfit or a special basket. When I was really young, one year, my nest held a real white rabbit in a cage! I remember saying to my mom that the note with the bunny looked very much like my brother's handwriting! Who would have guessed they wrote so much alike?! ; )
To build the nests, the young children are taken with family for a walk down the road to pick flowers. We used to have all sorts of wild flowers in the ditches out here ranging from Buttercups or Evening Primrose, to Indian Paint Brushes or Indian Blankets just to name a few. We'd pick flowers and then bring them back home. Then we would arrange them in a shape on the ground that usually my mom would pick out the spot for. The shapes ranged from circles to hearts or diamond shapes. This would usually be done the day before or the morning before. As luck would have it, the flowers would wilt and not look as pretty the next day. So off for a walk we would go again to pick some more flowers to "spruce it up". But, to our surprise every year, as we went for that second walk - the Easter Bunny had come and we'd run to our nests to get our special gifts and then the hunt was on! It is a tradition that seems to be continuing now as my nieces have children and I hope one that continues. It is part of our heritage and traditions my family brought over with them. When my dad was still livng, he would have fun with the grandkids and build a nest of his own, but the Easter Bunny would usually leave him a rock or stick which would make them all giggle as he discovered what he had in his.
Of course Easter has a much greater meaning than the Easter Bunny so another tradition is attending church. When able, the sunrise services were held at the local football field and it was always a favorite of mine to watch the sun rise as service was held. But now that I have great nieces and nephews, I'd like to start some sort of tradition to teach them the true meaning of Easter so it becomes more to them than just a candy day. A church I attended made a cross and covered it with a wire and the children would come up and put live flowers through the holes in the wire. Once done, you couldn't see the wire but a cross of flowers. I think it would be a neat idea for my family to build a smaller version and on that second pass of picking flowers, the new flowers could be placed on the cross. This could be a small cross that could be placed or stood up in the yard during Easter. Another thought I had was placing a wooden cross in the yard and having them put a scarf of purple around it and read the story of the Resurrection from the Bible. It's a thought - but we'll see if I get it executed! Time flies - remember?!
So don't let time fly by too much. Take time to smell the flowers and reflect on the true meaning of Easter. Start a tradition with your family too - the memories will last with them just as mine have.
Do you have any traditions or ideas that you want to share? If so, send them my way and if you know the background on how it got started include that too - I'd love to read them as I'm sure the rest of the readers would too.
Until next time....