It’s interesting how traditions can change through the years. Maybe it’s a generational thing. Each generation starts doing something enough that it begins to take on the label of a tradition. Or maybe just getting older and expanding our horizons allows us to see traditions that others observe and make it our own.
Easter is this weekend and that’s what got me thinking of traditions.
From what I recall from my childhood, Easter basically meant one thing to me: Candy.
For as long as I could remember, as kids, we typically gave up candy for Lent.
“Giving up” something for Lent is another tradition that existed largely in Catholic families like mine, but I’m sure others took part, too.
Throughout the traditional 40 days leading up to Easter, if we happened to acquire any candy, it went into storage until Easter arrived.
Waking up Easter morning would provide a double whammy to the sweet tooth.
There would be an Easter basket waiting for each of us with, of course, candy.
Chocolate Easter bunnies were my personal favorite. Solid chocolate being better than hollow rabbits, but either was fine.
So, in addition to our newly acquired Easter treats, we would have our Lenten stash. No wonder I can’t remember our traditional Easter ham. I was too busy pigging out on candy.
Now, you’ll notice that I mentioned my Easter basket with candy in it. And that was it, candy. Nothing else. Which brings me to a changing tradition that I first noticed was evolving as our son was growing up. My wife was fixing up his Easter Basket. I was nearby, primarily with plans of “sampling” some of the candy treats.
But what was all this stuff in the way?
There was a VCR of a movie and other gift items. I questioned what was going on when I was told they were Easter gifts.
When did the Easter bunny start being more than just candy? He’s in the gift-giving business now?
He is indeed I was told, so suck it up and come up with ideas for Easter presents.
It was a surprise to me at the time, but a concept I see is still going strong.
No, we’re not buying an Easter present and shipping it half-way across the country to our now grown son, but I see others buying presents to stuff into the Easter basket.
Maybe it’s stuff the kids would be getting soon, just wrapped around the concept of Easter gifts.
At least I hope that would explain some elaborate gifts being given now.
It’s not like Easter was void of other good traditions — like coloring Easter eggs, the Easter egg hunt, getting dressed up in your finest threats for church and more — but there’s always room for another.
We’ve incorporated others that have quietly been added through the years, some of which we will be partaking in these next few days, others that only happen when the conditions are right.
Our Easter will be spent with a small family group this year. And there’s even a chance there won’t be anyone there under the age of 20.
So, hiding plastic eggs around the yard probably won’t happen.
Flying kites is another tradition that has caught on with my wife’s family. Again, with the size and the age of this weekend’s group, that may not happen.
But I think I’ll slip a kite in the car anyway and just might fly one myself. You know, for the tradition.
Some things will remain the same. I’m sure there will be candy. I can be sure because if there’s not, I’ll go out and get my own.
In a throwback to my childhood days, I’ve “given up” Peanut M&M’s this Lent (don’t laugh, the big bag of them in my fridge has been mocking me for 40 days). Also, I’ve yet to have my seasonal guilty pleasure, a Cadbury egg.
Before this weekend is over, odds are good I will be having the perfect match of chocolate and gooey sugar.
If that doesn’t happen on or before Easter Sunday, then you can bet I’ll be in the candy aisle of the nearby big box store for the half-price sale on Monday.
Another fine tradition in the making!