Your Easter Customs

In most cultures and families there are wonderful Easter customs.

They could be communal as bring food in baskets to church to be blessed by the priest.

They could be as simple and intimate as preparing a special meal in the family home.

What are some of your customs?

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  1. Cristero says:

    At San Juan Buatista, CA, the new Latin Mass Community will have an Easter Egg Hunt for children in the Mission Garden.

    Afterwards, our Family will have Easter dinner with a few friends. Then we will all finish the evening with Compline and the triple Alleluia.

  2. Bob A says:

    When I was growing up my Polish grandparents had the Priest from the Polish Church come to the house and bless a table of food. There were sausages, ham, vegatables and a wonderful braided bread with hard-boiled eggs embedded in each braid. We no longer live in that town and the more modern parish we attend now is too large to expect the Priests to perform those house visits, nor is it part of their Spanish culture. Currently we have the family over for a Ham and Sweet Potato dinner and the grandchildren dye eggs for us all, can’t get those wonderful Polish Hams anywhere around here though.

  3. Christina says:

    Pysanki yesterday. Today, I’m baking all kids of decadent desserts, such as poppy seed bread, babka, peanut butter pie, jello pie (with real whipped cream, not that fake stuff), cherry cake, and sugar cookies.
    Tomorrow after Mass, we’ll have a brunch of eggs and kielbasy and the breads I made.
    Dinner will be ham, lamb, and other goodies.

    Wesolego Alleluja!

  4. elliot says:

    Here in Germany, we bring baskets of eggs, bread, ham and other goodies to be blessed by the priest after the Vigil mass. After the vigil, at home, the family and a few invited friends break the fast with some of the foods that were blessed and enjoy a glass of “La Veuve”. Yummy…!

  5. Ann says:

    As a child we would each find, on Easter morning when we came to breakfast, a beautifully hardbound copy of some classic with a note from mom written inside the cover. Each book was chosen for the particular child, so we didn’t all get the same title.

    Then there were the candy filled Easter baskets. Sometimes with a stuffed toy.

    Everyone had a new Easter outfit, pink or blue or white, and I can remember when I was small we also wore little white gloves and a white hat. Easter was an important day for dressing up for Church.

    After church, we could all gather at our house because ours had the biggest table for dinner.

    Lunch would be home-made waffles and such, and dinner would be the extended family and great-grandma always brought a pie.

    Not much else.

  6. Mitch_WA says:

    we have a cake that is shaped like a lamb after Easter Dinner. My aunt started doing that a few years ago. Otherwise we do a big ham feast for dinner and my parents still do easter baskets for everyone who will be there easter morning, even for me, my fiance and my cousin who are all coming back there from collage.

  7. Stitchwort says:

    The dough for my Hot Cross Buns is rising now, and later I will make a Lemon Meringue Pie–a REAL lemon meringue pie, with sugar and eggs and cornstarch and genuine lemons, NOT from a package!

    That will be for our ham supper tomorrow night.I’ll probably only make the crust today, as the fresher it is, the better it is.

  8. Lepanto says:

    In my Neapolitan/Abruzzese- American family we make three Easter pies. Pizza ghen’ (unsure of spelling) made of salted meats and cheese, Rice pie made of rice and ricotta and spinach pie. My grandparents make them all day on Good Friday, so their penance is having to make such delicious food without being able to eat it at all!

    Happy Easter.

  9. AM says:

    Yesterday I made hot cross buns, which were our collation at noon.

    We just got back from swieconki, blessing of Easter basket of food.

    Just about to put two large egg-and-orange-braided breads in the oven.

    English + Polish family

  10. Alessandro says:

    Agnello. Lots of Agnello. We go to the Bronx, Athur Ave, and gave a 4 month year old lamb, on Spy Wednesday. Lots of artichokes and vegetables. For Easter Sunday we have a lamb ragu with homemade orechiette, ear/ firehat shaped pasta. (Not to mention the antipasto before the meal). Then we have the lamb from the ragu, and roasted lamb, salad artichokes, vegetables, potatoes. Maybe some pan-sauteed lamb with rosemary and garlic. Lots of desserts, panetone, and of course the traditional Italian (large) chocolate eggs with a surprise inside for the younger kids.

    For Pasquetta, Easter Monday, theres more….

  11. Alessandro says:

    And of course, we share the lamb with friends if we have extra, Southern Italy can be very biblical…

  12. Matthew says:

    Tonight we’ll goto the Easter Vigial Mass, then after spend sometime in the Church basement celebrating with the new members of the Church and other parishioners. Often one of the parishioners brings some of his excellent homemade wine for everyone’s enjoyment. Then after Mass on Sunday morning it’s usually off to grandma’s house for some sweet bread, ham, beacon, and eggs! Usually we have lamb or turkey for dinner on Easter Sunday :-).

  13. Herbert says:

    We have many peculiar custom like bringing water, and candles to be blessed by the priest during Easter vigil, we bring it home. the old folks believe that it will ward off evil and misfortune. I have posted some customs in my blog (THE FILIPINO TRADITIONAL ROMAN CATHOLIC)

  14. Sandra in Severn says:

    What I wish for, or what we’ve got locally?

    I wished that there was a parish, other than in Pennsylvania that blesses Easter Baskets on Holy Saturday. Our Catholic Chaplain at Travis AFB was from the Pittsburgh area and knew all about the blessings. Something that is “hit-or-miss” when you are military, that your Catholic Chaplain (if you have one) would know and do it.

    I have my ham, my bread, my salt and butter, but after spending a few days looking–there were none in under 90 minutes of driving.

    Husband and I are “empty-nester’s” and it’s hard to get going to dye eggs, or do many of the “fun” things (like Easter Baskets) that you do with children.

    Church services were attended, and I did a marathon session of watching movies depicting the passion. Even did the variation that another Catholic site had of the Stations of the Cross, with the movie “The Passion of The Christ” Today is clean, and in a way, remember and mourn all those in our lives that are at rest.

  15. Josiah Ross says:

    A traditional soul food dinner on Sunday afternoon at my grandmother’s house is about it.

  16. Petrus_barjona says:

    In the Philippines, after the Vigil, there is a procession called ‘Salubong’ or ‘Abet-abet’ which commemorates Christ’s apparition to his Mother. An image of the Risen Christ emerges from the Church, and a statue of the Soledad goes to meet him. She is followed by the eleven Apostles and the three Marys. Once they reach the risen Christ, children dressed as angels, lift her black veil, revealing the Soledad clad in white. Prayers are said and songs are sung after which an elaborate procession then takes place through the streets with people holding candles lit from the Paschal Candle.

  17. Getting up at 5 O’Clock and going to work. Arrrrrh.

  18. I am not Spartacus says:

    Early A.M. Mass. Then, Eggs Benedict, and a bit of chocolate.

    Then mid-afternoon, I roast a boned & butterflied leg of lamb slathered with a mint, rosemary, and basil pesto and serve that with sides of roasted asparagus and smashed and roasted potatoes to which has been added two bulbs roasted garlic, six slices of coked & crumbled bacon, green onions, cheddar cheese, sour cream and butter.

    And I also bust out the quality cabernet.

    And afterwards, amidst talk of Jesus and His Salvific Acts, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate and, maybe, a glass of a too expensive desert wine.

  19. Patrick says:

    Each year, on Holy Saturday, my Slovak grandmother would go to the church and have a basket of Easter foods blessed. She would then share it out amongst her children and grandchildren.

    She would bake walnut and poppy seed breads, that is a yeast dough rolled up with walnut or poppy seed fillings.

    I am spotty in my observance of the blessing of the food baskets, but I make the rolled and filled bread each year at Christmas and Easter.

    Happy Easter to all!!

    Praised be Jesus Christ,
    Now and Forever!!!!

  20. Gregg the Obscure says:

    We help with a reception that follows the Easter Vigil Mass. Since the Vigil Mass starts so close to the dinner hour and ends so late, it’s very pleasant to have appetizers, desserts, wine and the like ready right after Mass. We stay late enough so that the folks who decorate the Sanctuary for Easter Day can also have something. Clergy rarely attend the reception given the demands on their time the next day, but most of the rest of those in attendance partake.

    Since one of our catechumens is wheelchair-bound, this year’s reception will be in the more accessible parish hall, even though weather would suggest the Church basement ceteris paribus. The three families most involved in staging the reception all feature husbands who are converts and wives who are cradle Catholics.

    For all the things at the parish that are upsetting – and there are a few – this is one that is encouraging.

  21. Lirioroja says:

    Alas, my family does not have any Easter traditions. They are nominally Catholic and Easter was never a big deal for them, at least not while we were growing up. I remember there were a few years that my mom would dress us up and we’d go somewhere and take pictures – like at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens or at the Easter Parade on 5th Ave. But when we got to big for that they stopped. I remember one year recently that on Easter Sunday when they came back from Mass (I’d gone to the vigil the night before) we did spring cleaning! This has always been painful for me ever since I started taking my faith seriously as I love the Triduum and I love Easter more than Christmas. It helps that there are a lot of young adults at my parish and after the Easter Vigil we go out for food and drinks – sometimes at a friend’s place, sometimes at a restaurant that’s open late. I love it – it seems so appropriate to go out and party after the vigil. However then Easter Sunday proper seems anticlimactic.

    At my instigation I suggested to my friends (many of whom are not from NYC and are far from their families) that we should do something special on Easter Sunday. We normally go out to brunch after Mass but on Easter we make a reservation at a really nice restaurant and splurge on a decadent brunch. One of my friends even pays for everyone’s drinks – a nice and very appreciated Easter gift. I look forward to this every year.

  22. Ben Trovato says:

    Our kids make small easter gardens every year.

  23. EJ says:

    As central-american immigrants to the United States, my large family’s Easter celebration blended things from both cultures. Growing up we would have a huge family reunion and celebration at some relative’s house after the Sunday Mass of the day. My aunt would hide eggs for the children of the family to hunt… they were the cheap plastic variety but absolutely stuffed with all sorts of candies and goodies by her. The adults inside would spend all afternoon catching up, laughing, dancing as my mother and my aunts prepared the big Easter meal, followed by all sorts of Latin-American and North American desserts. This is all gone, my grandmother our matriarch was the glue that held all my extended family really together, and since her passing a few years ago things have never been the same…as my parents and aunts and uncles have all retired and moved far – my brothers and cousins have married mostly non-religious people who felt our traditions were weird, and our get-togethers loud and annoying. The loss of this grand “exterior” celebration for me has permitted me to deepen my spiritual participation and understanding of the Lord’s Resurrection, but I cannot deny feeling a bit lonely and melancholic at each Easter. Please keep those who are alone at Easter in your prayers – and if you still have a big, joyous and ridiculously-loud family celebration like I used to, then savor every moment of it! A blessed and joyous Easter to each of you!

  24. Maynardus says:

    My earliest memories of Easter are of my father playing Handel’s “Messiah” (on LP’s), loudly enough to be heard througout the whole house. He’d always time it so the Hallelujah Chorus came just before we left for Mass. I’ve retained this tradition in my own family and everyone looks forward to it.

    In addition to the “usual” practices on Good Friday, e.g. in the morning we usually read St. Luke’s Passion as a family and keep silence between 12-3; the last couple of years I’ve watched the movie of “The Passion of The Christ” with my oldest sons. If that doesn’t put you in the correct frame of mind nothing will!

    Oh – like “I Am Not Spartacus” – LAMB! I couldn’t dream of anything else on Easter. My parents always had ham but to that custom I say “non tradidi”!

  25. JL says:

    I’m a church musician, so by the time Holy Week is over I’m pretty tired and in no mood to cook and get the house up to scratch for guests. I still want to celebrate, though, so I host a Second Sunday of Easter dinner for my friends. For the past few years I’ve given up alcohol for Lent, so tonight after the Vigil I’m going to celebrate with a little Pascal Scotch.

  26. Jerry says:

    This from a Polish priest. Our family will be celebrating Easter dinner with friends, three of whom are former concentration camp refugees when they were children — and they will be bring a basket of food blessed by a priest from Poland.

    And don’t forget Easter Monday is Dyngus Day where there is a polka dance and the women ask them.

    Following is the priest’s write-up.



    The blessing of the Easter food or the `Swieconka´ is a tradition that is
    very dear to the heart of every Pole. Grateful to God for all his gifts of
    nature and grace, and as a token of this gratitude, we have the food
    sanctified with the hope that when spring comes, the season of the
    Resurrection, we will also be blessed by God´s goodness and mercy.

    Traditions vary from region to region and from family to family. They have
    changed and evolved with each passing generation. Traditionally, the food is
    brought to the church in a basket decorated with a colorful ribbon, sprigs
    of greenery are added, and a linen cover placed over the top. The food is
    blessed by the parish priest on Holy Saturday morning. If it is absolutely
    necessary, the food can also be blessed at home. After the blessing, the
    food is usually set aside until Easter morning when the head of the house
    shares the blessed egg, symbol of life, with his family and friends. Having
    exchanged wishes, they all continue to enjoy the rest of the meal.

    *The foods traditionally blessed by a priest for Easter can be placed in
    three categories:*

    o Easter bread and cakes of all kinds, particularly a yeasty cake called

    o Meat products, ham, veal, suckling pig, sausage, bacon and so on.

    o Dairy products, butter, cheese, eggs – some without their shells, others,
    decorated, called


    *Each of the foods has a deep and symbolic meaning*

    o Butter – often shaped into a lamb (Baranek Wielkanocny} or into a cross.
    This reminds us of the good will of Christ that we should have toward all

    o Babka (Easter bread) – a round or long loaf topped with a cross or a fish,
    symbolic of Jesus, who is the true Bread of Life

    o Horseradish with grated red beets (‘Chrzan’) – symbolizes the Passion of
    Christ still in our minds but sweetened with some sugar because of the

    o Eggs (Jajka) and (Pisanki – decorated with symbols of Easter, of life and
    prosperity.) Eggs are considered a symbol of the resurrection, the emergence
    of a new life

    o Sausage (Kielbasa) – spicy sausage made of pork products, indicative of
    God’s favor and generosity

    o Ham (Szynka) – symbolic of great joy and abundance. Some prefer lamb or
    veal. The lamb also reminds Catholics that the Risen Christ is the ‘Lamb of

    oSmoked Bacon (Slonina) – a symbol of the abundance of God’s mercy and

    o Salt (Sol) – a necessary element in our physical life, symbolic of
    prosperity and justice, to

    remind us the people are the flavor, the salt of the earth

    o Cheese (Ser) – ball shaped, as the symbol of the moderation Christians
    should have at all times

    o In some regions a candle is also inserted into the basket to represent
    Christ, the Light of the world.


  27. Supertradmom says:

    We have an amazing dinner of ham and scalloped potatoes, with a special salad. Sometimes, we have white cake, but not always, as the candy is a treat. The children find Easter baskets full of candy, but complete with a toothbrush and even a small tube of toothpaste in the basket as a reminder of what to do after eating the candy. We vary the Mass we attend depending on our ability to get to a TLM. This year, we shall attend the Ukrainian Vigil Mass this evening, as we are not near a TLM.

    After Mass, we each have a glass of wine and, when my Grandmother was living, poppy seed rolls and kolá?e, which I admit I have not made in years. Also, as we are a combination of English, Czech, and Luxembourg backgrounds, we have hot cross buns and chocolate in croissants, but not all at the same time! The English tradition also includes a chocolate egg with small candies in it, such as a Cadbury Egg. In many parts of England, children receive these “stuffed eggs” rather than an Easter basket. I just buy small versions and put those in the Easter baskets.

  28. Supertradmom says:

    PS I do not know why kolache came out with a question mark. For those who do not know what these are, they are Czech pastries with either cherry, cream cheese, or prune centers. Very yummy.

  29. ken says:

    Palm Sunday grind homemade Polish sausage. Sunday night, in a Chicago snow and sleet shower the kids and I smoked the sausage. Holy Thursday afternoon and Good Friday morning homemade pierogi. Basket blessing at 2:30.

  30. Edward Martin says:

    Out of curiosity today we took the children to our Basilica to see the Archbishop bless the Polish food baskets. There are very few Poles in our small city, so it was great to have the Archbishop take part.

    I used to live in the Greek area of Toronto and would love the “feeling” of Easter in the neighbourhood. The neighbours would roast a full lamb on an large barbeque, usually positioned on the driveway. It was a real social event as people would pass by help out by turning the hand cranked rotisserie.

    With regard to our traditions we go to Mass overlooking the ocean in the morning. We will then have family and a family friend from India over for an evening meal. We will top it all off with a tray of Easter chocolates etc.

  31. Matt Q says:

    Our Easter usual: roast beef, ham, rack of lamb ( sometimes depending on who’s in the mood so I don’t think so this year–still debating ), various salads, snacks and appetizers in profusion, stuff people feel like bringing over so the menu grows exponentially ( **grin** ), and the joy of family and friends at such a blessed time of year. Oh, and enough wine, beer and Easter candy which becomes our Stimulus contribution to these companies. LOL

    Happy and Blessed Easter to all!

  32. JaneC says:

    We generally go to a relative’s house for dinner, but this year the only relatives nearby are my brother and his family–my hopes were dashed when they told me they’d be out of town. My sister-in-law is Italian (not Italian-American–she grew up in Turin), and she really knows how to make a holiday meal! The memory of the five-course dinner we had on St. Stephen’s Day still makes my mouth water. Oh well.

    Fortunately, my parish is full of folks who have no relatives nearby and no time or money to travel home for the holiday. We are all having dinner together in the parish hall! There will be turkey and lamb and good company.

  33. olmphoto2 says:

    Hot Cross buns are on their final rise now. Early tradition was not use eggs or diary (I do) and to serve on Good Friday. In addition to the beautiful reminder of our Lord’s sacrifice on the cross, it has been said that the shape of the rolls is to be reminiscent of the rock covering His Tomb. [For anyone who may be interested my recipe is online at: ]

  34. Stitchwort says:

    olmphoto2, I enjoyed comparing your Hot Cross Buns recipe. Mine (inherited from my mother) is a little richer–3 eggs, full cup of milk, half a cup of butter, with raisins as well as currants and flavoured with nutmeg and vanilla. I mix and knead by hand, and I must make them a bit smaller than you do, as I get 35 (5 x 7) in a 9 by 13 pan.

    Mine are baked and cooling now; I should go soon and put the crosses on them.

  35. plisto says:

    In my family, we make pasha and eat roasted lamb on sunday -pasha comes from eastern-orthodox tradition, and living here near the border to Russia (Finland, that is :-) ) it is also customary here.
    We paint eggs, too. The kids love it!
    This morning we had tenebrae in our small cathedral. It is very beautiful. Also, there is the burial picture of Jesus in our church, that we visited yesterday. Lots of good traditional catholic things around here (like latin) pretty much -which doesn’t mean, though, that people are necessarily any better (doctrinally) here than anywhere!
    For sunday morning, I’m going to fill easter-birds with chocolate (easter-birds are made of plastic ;-)) for our girls -who enjoy tremendously doing all kinds of chores with us as we prepare for this great feast!
    Surrexit D.nus Alleluia!

  36. Mary says:

    My family for as long as I can remember has always taken part in the Triduum, my dad will go to Mass tomorrow morning as well, I will return to serve as EMHC for our 12:15 overflow (in the gym)from the 12pm Mass. My mom has for the past 10 years or so cooked Easter dinner for the family, so she only goes on to the Vigil.

    This year there are 20 of us, which includes my immediate family and my aunt’s (my mom’s sister) family. Everyone tends to bring something, but we’re having the traditional ham and turkey with potatoes, turnips, “popin’ fresh dough aka Pillsbury crescent rolls, veggies of some sort. Both of my parents and obviously their families are from Ireland, so it’s not a true meal with out potatoes. For dessert we have Irish soda bread, cookies, jell-o jigglers, apple pie. I’m making cup cakes this year.

    I’ve started a tradition of having Easter Baskets for my niece and nephew, and we’ll leave a few plastic eggs around the house for them to find too. As a child I would often have to find my Easter gift from the Easter Bunny, now my parents usually buy my Easter outfit or pay for me to get my hair cut.

    Overall, we tend to spend Easter they way we do the other major holidays with family, enjoying each others company.

  37. Ken says:

    After we’ve visited different churches on Holy Thursday for Adoration, we make babka and the other baked goods like chru?ciki on Holy Thursday. Good Friday is spent at home, and we only leave for Mass. We’ve made it a tradition to keep the TV and radio off. On Holy Saturday, we go to my grandparents’ parish, a beautiful old Polish church, to have our baskets for ?wi?conka blessed. We go up into the main church, where they have a statue of the body of our Lord placed beneath a side altar like a tomb and pray there, and light candles for our relatives who have died. We go to the Easter Vigil and color Easter Eggs then. On Easter Sunday, I wake up early to watch the Benedictio Urbi et Orbi (getting the rest of the family up at 6 on Easter Sunday Morn is right out) and we hold the family party at our house, where we generally break out the good beer and good wine.

    Hot cross buns are a new addition, though this year I got a bit zealous with the mixer and splattered half of them all over the wall. Live and learn…

  38. Cathguy says:

    I don’t know how to spell this correctly:

    Grandma made “Pizza Gane.” I know I am butchering the spelling. If anyone knows how to spell it I would be appreciative of knowing.

    It was a hearty ham and cheese pie. My mother has the recipe and we still have it every Easter Sunday. I love it, but it is custom designed to make you gain weight very quickly.

    My grandmother used to make the pies and had them blessed at the Blessing of the Food (I think this is what it was called). We haven’t done that in ages. I would like to restart.

    Today at the local polish Church we saw tons and tons cars in the parking lot and people coming out with food baskets. It was wonderful.

    (I do not know if this next part was acceptable, we stopped doing it). My grandmother used to make palm crosses and put one in the top Pizza Gane (sp?) pie.

    Of course, then came the big Italian family feast. This included pasta…. and at least 7 courses of food. It felt like Grandma cooked all Lent.

  39. I am not Spartacus says:

    I couldn’t dream of anything else on Easter. My parents always had ham but to that custom I say “non tradidi”!

    Maynardus. Same with me. I was born into a large Irish-Algonquin family and I thought ham was an Eastern tradition – until I began to read Ecclesiastical history.

    Out with the ham, in with the lamb. (What follows is just a bit of fun. Do not be offended).

    Here’s a little dithyramb,
    about the suspiciously pink-colored ham.

    On Easter Catholics suffused with loving,
    never put that pink beast in their oven.
    A loving Catholic, whether Sir or Ma’am,
    fires-up the grille and cooks some lamb

  40. Ricky Vines says:

    Here in Washington D.C., we have the midnight Mass at 8 p.m., then a dawn Mass and finally a midday Mass. It the usual Vatican 2 liturgy with the darkened Church and the Paschal candle. However, I know of an alleged miracle that happens around Easter with the Orthodox.

    Here is a YouTube link: and the description is as follows: This is footage of the miraculous appearance of the Holy Fire, Saturday April 26, 2008, in Jerusalem at the Orthodox Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

    The miraculous appearance of the Holy Fire occurs every year on Holy Saturday in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem. Holy Saturday is the day before Orthodox Pascha, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    The Holy Fire appears when the Patriarch of Jerusalem enters a small marble structure built over Christ’s actual, historic tomb. He enters inside, closes the door, and two large candles are miraculously lit as he is uttering prayers. When he exits the tomb he uses his lit candles to light the candles of pilgrims, who in turn light other pilgrims’ candles.

    The Holy Fire doesn’t burn, as one can witness when the pious pilgrim in the video (27 second mark) moves his flame back and forth over his face and neck. The Holy Fire is later transported on chartered flights to Athens, Russia, Bulgaria and other Orthodox countries.

  41. Dino says:

    When I was a kid, we would have either a ham dinner or fried rabbit (in California, access to the possum of my father’s Arkansas childhood was not available).
    The kids of this household take a rather dim view of rabbit, so being the only non-Hispanic here, I am out-voted and we’ll have pork and chicken tamales, Mmmmmm.

  42. Evelyn says:

    We have lots of liturgies during Holy Week, Easter baskets and an egg hunt at home. For the commenter who said she was an empty nester, one tradition we have is to contact people in the community who know disadvantaged families (thru church, school district, women’s shelter, etc) and make Easter baskets for them. We don’t get names, but we do know age and gender and so can get pretty personalized. It doubles the joy of any holiday. For another example, on Dec 6, St Nicholas’ Day, children who need shoes wake up to find new pairs (or warm winter boots), filled with the traditional candies and treats. Everybody remembers the poor at Christmas, but many holidays they are overlooked.

  43. margaret says:

    Although our 5 children are grown, we gather as many as we can of our children and grandchildren for the Holy Thursday liturgy; on Good Friday, my daughters and I make hot cross buns from scratch, and serve them after Good Friday services at noon. We once went to the Easter Vigil liturgy —- it was my privilege, as our parish cantor, to chant the Exultet, in English. However, the Vigil is now bi-lingual, so my family attends the Easter morning Mass, where I am the cantor.
    Easter is a time for the family to gather, putting out Easter baskets and hunting eggs on the front lawn after Mass and breakfast — and then cooking, baking and lots of dishes, with much joy and fellowship.

  44. In Bulgaria, it is traditional to dye the Easter eggs
    on Holy Thursday morning. In the past, eggs were died
    red by using beet juice or red onion skins. Currently,
    most people use commercial dies.

    During Easter, a lamb is usually roasted by the entire
    family or village. It is eaten throughout the rest
    of the Easter season. In my own household, of course,
    it is not possible for us to buy and eat an entire lamb.
    Therefore, we content ourselves with little pieces.

  45. Dinsdale says:

    I always try to get to a Polish parish church for the Good Friday liturgy – after Veneration of the Cross, the priest takes the corpus off of a large crucifix and then carries it in procession to the back of the church. Then, a life-sized statue of Christ representing Him in the tomb is brought in procession along with the instruments of His Passion – a crown of thorns, nails, a hammer, and a scourge. The statue is placed in a tomb which is surrounded by flowers and is guarded by statues of angels, and mournful hymns are sung throughout.

    As I understand it, this tradition is also followed in many Slovak, Croatian, and Lithuanian churches.

  46. JohnE says:

    A meal of king crab, to celebrate the Risen King and to ask forgiveness for our crabbiness. And because it tastes good.

  47. Sara says:

    A tiny bit of background: When I was in the US Air Force stationed in Turkey a couple of friends and I rented the upstairs apartment from a Muslim Turkish family. November came and we decided to put together as best we could a good ol fashioned traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. We invited our Turkish landlords and their family to join us..they though that it was incredible that Americans set aside one day to give thanks. Later on the next year it so happened that Eid al-Fitr–the end of Ramadan, fell on Easter weekend. Eid al-Fitr falls on the first day of Shawwal, the month which follows Ramadan in the Islamic calendar. The Ramadan fast is broken and a traditional dinner is served. Well our Turkish landlords invited me and my friends to this “Easter” dinner. Part of the tradition is that even in the spirit of merry making there are many that go without. So you eat a minimal dinner and give the money that you would spend on a big fancy dinner to the poor. I have carried over that nontraditional Easter dinner and made it a new tradition in my family. We have lamb kabobs, rice and pita bread, a small sweet for dessert. Also in rememberance of a kind Turkish Muslim family who welcomed total strangers into their house who practiced a strange religion and with equally strange culture and customs and treated them like family. We all cried when we had to return to the US.

  48. mrsmontoya says:

    Our Easter customs really focus on Lent, starting with Ash Wednesday and ‘giving something up’, and Friday abstinence, everything building up to Holy Week. Now that we are here, the main thing is Church – this year we will take all the kids to Easter Vigil tonight, to see the first use of our new marble spa-style font.

    Our customs have changed as the kids have grown, what seems to have stuck is the Easter mass and lamb for Easter Sunday dinner; and oddly enough for three tomboys, new dresses and shoes for Easter. This year was especially difficult since none of us like frills, ruffles, or retro-70’s colors. The girls connect with the idea of ‘putting on a new self’ and looking one’s best on this most important occasion.

  49. Mark says:

    In case anyone wants to know the difference between “pysanki” and “pisanki”, the links below make it abundantly clear, respectively:

  50. Crusader says:

    We take a marshmallow Peep and put it into the microwave, then the whole family gathers around and watches it grow into a full size chicken. This tradition started in my family in the 1970s when we got our first microwave oven…

  51. Mickey says:

    My family was orginally from Naples (on my mother’s side), so every year we make “Easter Bread” (more like a calzone or stromboli than bread)…eggs, cheese, ham, bacon, pepperoni, parsley on the inside of a pasta-bread crust. On top are the symbols for Christ’s Crown of Thorns, whips, the Holy Trinity, and His Crown as King of Kings…all brushed with egg and sugar then baked.

    We make these on Holy Saturday, then eat them on Sunday morning after Holy Mass!

  52. chloesmom says:

    My mouth is watering just reading about all these wonderful foods! And I admire those who are able to take the time to make them. Tomorrow I’ll be doing a roast, with sweet potato “fries”, vegetables, gravy, and Yorkshire pudding. Tiramisu (store-bought, alas) for dessert. Tomorrow morning after breakfast there’ll be chocolate, seeing that we attended Easter Vigil tonight. Happy Easter to all of you, and to your good self, Father Z!

  53. Ioannes Andreades says:

    I guess I’ve figured that the difference between Ukrainian eggs and Polish eggs is much like the difference between Turkish rugs and Persian rugs: geometric versus floral.

    Went to the beautiful St. Stanislas Church in New Haven with basket in hand for a blessing, sang at vigil (unfortunately sounding nothing like Fr. Z), and will probably eat enough tomorrow that it will not be clear when one meal ends and another begins.

    Christ is risen! Christ is truly risen!

  54. Kavi says:

    Referring to the lamb vs. ham meal choice, may I add that the reason we have ham on Easter is not only because several generations before have done so, but also that we have lamb for the Seder Meal. Also, for a large group, ham feeds more people! Lamb tastes much better, however.

  55. Girgadis says:

    Every year during Lent my son helps me put together care packages for some of the homeless
    people we look in on from time to time and we distribute them between Holy
    Thursday and Holy Saturday. I attend all 3 days of the Triduum. I can’t imagine not going to the Easter Vigil.

    It was so beautiful tonight that the only thing that could be better will be
    dying and going to Heaven. We will go to Mass as a family in the morning and
    then later in the day, go to dinner at my parents’ house, a Sunday tradition.
    Somewhere along the line I began giving marzipan lambs as gifts as well as
    Italian Easter bread and strufuli like my grandmother used to make. I wish I could
    say I make all these things myself but time and temperament simply don’t permit.

  56. Charivari Rob says:

    Been busy with church most of the week – Tenebrae on Wednesday at the Cathedral. Holy Thursday at our own parish. Good Friday visited a priest friend at his parish. Today was reconciliation, supper with a friend, and Vigil at a neighboring parish.

    Easter Sunday will be back at our own parish. Haven’t made special dinner plans yet – maybe out with friends or maybe put something together a little more special than usual at home.

    Next Sunday is Low Sunday, so we’ll be with the Peter Clavers.

  57. Carlos Palad says:

    “I always try to get to a Polish parish church for the Good Friday liturgy – after Veneration of the Cross, the priest takes the corpus off of a large crucifix and then carries it in procession to the back of the church. Then, a life-sized statue of Christ representing Him in the tomb is brought in procession along with the instruments of His Passion – a crown of thorns, nails, a hammer, and a scourge. The statue is placed in a tomb which is surrounded by flowers and is guarded by statues of angels, and mournful hymns are sung throughout.

    As I understand it, this tradition is also followed in many Slovak, Croatian, and Lithuanian churches.”

    The Philippines too, although the taking down of Christ from the cross is no
    longer done in most parishes, just the procession with the dead Christ and
    statues of Maria Desolata, St. John, etc.

  58. Scott says:

    Well Im a student , so I splashed out and brought a Lamb Vindaloo with Garlic bread, I love Vindaloo, but this one was so hot I was sweating as I ate it

  59. Robert B. says:

    We usually tuck into a nice Simnel cake at Easter. The legend states that the cake was invented by Lambert Simnel, a Yorkist pretender to the throne who was sentenced to a lifetime of servitude as a kitchen boy by Henry VII after the Battle of Stoke Field in 1487. It’s complete rot, sadly – Simnel Cake was around long before young Lambert was heard of, but it’s a nice legend nontheless.

    Simnel Cake is a fruitcake, coated in marzipan, with a layer of marzipan running through the middle. On top the cake is decorated with twelve Marzipan balls – one in the centre representing Christ, and eleven around the edge, representing the faithful disciples. Judas Iscariot is never represented.

    Unfortunately we haven’t got a proper cake this year, so a box of Mr. Kipling slices will have to suffice. Nevermind. They are Exceedingly Good.

  60. Memento says:

    In the (British) Military Parish of the Holy Family in Bergen-Hohne (near Belsen Concentration camp), we have the Blessing of Easter Eggs and the devotion of Maria Consolata at the end of our Easter Morning Mass.

    Father invites all the children to gather around the shrine of Our Lady where a great basket of both chocolate and paste eggs is prepared. The children (and their parents!) are catechised about the origin of Easter Eggs and then they the eggs are blessed using the ancient prayer from the Rituale Romanum. The children then receive the eggs.

    Father next explains how Our Lady Mary is the most joyful witness of the Resurrection of her Son and one of the girls preparing for her 1st Holy Communion is invited to present our consolate Mother with a huge bouquet of Easter Lilies as the people sing her Easter anthem Regina Coeli in the original Latin. The children here all learn Latin in school, anyway, so it’s not too hard for them.

    It’s great fun – and the kids love it!

  61. I am not Spartacus says:

    Referring to the lamb vs. ham meal choice, may I add that the reason we have ham on Easter is not only because several generations before have done so

    Kavi, only several generations? IOW, a modern innovation.

    In the Culinary Arts,
    experts are those,
    who know ham is Pink,
    who know lamb is Rose.

    When we talk of vestments, especially for the EF Mass, one always desires lamb colored vestments not ham colored vestments, so, it follows that lamb is tradition and ham is modernism (see Pascendi Dominici Gregis)

    OK, I am done with the fun. He is Risen. Have a Blessed and Joyful Easter.

  62. Mary says:

    We hide Easter baskets EVERY year. Even if they only have one thing in them that we already declared “needed.” We also have ham, but that’s because Mom doesn’t want to cook lamb.

  63. rcesq says:

    On Good Friday after services we visit the cemetery, bring flowers and say prayers at my mother’s grave. Friends do the same for their deceased parents at some time during this weekend. It’s a reminder that we can hope to be re-united one day because of what Christ did for us 2000 years ago.

  64. irishgirl says:

    When I was younger, my family would get all dressed up to go to Easter Sunday Mass. Then, when we came home, my sisters and I would receive our Easter baskets. I remember one year when I got my first ‘adult’ Missal [St. Joseph’s Sunday Missal] sitting atop the basket. Of course, I loved the candy-I think I may have gotten sick eating it all at once!

    I spent this Easter alone-I went to the EF Mass at 12 noon. It was rather crowded-lots of babies ‘competing’ with the young priest who said the Mass-he was up to it! Later in the day, I went out to dinner alone. I also got a gift bag from the organist for helping out in our ‘tiny choir’-a mug that said, ‘I Love My Music’, and a….chocolate cross!

  65. irishgirl says:

    Crusader-your post about ‘microwaving’ the Peeps chicken was funny!

    Did it ever ‘explode’?

  66. Anthony says:

    I’m a church musician at the parish, so Easter traditions (and Christmas ones, too) sometimes have to change in order to accomodate my schedule of Masses.

    After the Easter Vigil Mass and reception for the newly baptized, our pastor always invites the staff and their families out to dinner at Village Inn (Baker’s Square, for those of you back east) — everyone gets breakfast, even though its 11pm. It helps all of us after some very busy weeks of preparation to just relax and be family with one another.

    Easter Sunday morning, my parents will always attend the first Mass of the day and bring me something to eat in between Masses. After the Masses are done, I go over to my parents for a ham and kielbasa dinner, with whatever side dishes dad decides to cook up (it’s nice having a dad who went to culinary school!) Also, if my father’s birthday falls during Holy Week (which it did this year), we’ll celebrate it on Easter Sunday after dinner as well. After dinner, I usually crash in my father’s chair and finally sleep!

    This year our family’s usual Spring get-together fell on Easter Sunday, so we’re having the traditional Easter dinner tonight! I guess I won’t get to crash in dad’s chair this time.

  67. Jordan says:

    Beyond the excessive amount and varieties of food for Easter Sunday, the duty over which my grandmother (each year) adamantly guards her monopoly, my favorite part is when she does something like look up to the heavens, raise her hands and conclude the opening prayer in her thick Slovenian accent with “God bless us all, now every one get drunk!”

    And we do. There’s as many types of drink as there are meat.

    I’d like to think there’s something different about the way Catholics drink here in North America from the way others drink beer at a BBQ or a university party. Or it could just be a European thing. Either way, the spirit was well summarized in Chesterton’s “Omar and Sacred Vine” from “Heretics”.

  68. shana sfo says:

    My kids and I bakes a rich buttery, cinnamony, honey laden Pascha bread and I make a few pans of baklava, a newer tradition of the last 9 years (my Croation/Greek friend’s outstanding recipe). Everything we will eat or drink for the Easter meal is taken to our parish church for a blessing on Holy Saturday, so we are up early on Holy Saturday to get the baking done in time.

    Most of us attend Easter Vigil, so those who didn’t go to the earliest Easter Sunday Mass, at our parish, 8 am.

    We have small gifts and chocolates for the kids, not necessarily in baskets (as we tend to lose them during the year; baskets don’t tend to hold up well in a house full of children. They always find them on rainy summer days and ruin them). My husband hides the Easter Eggs for the littlest ones to find. We have ham, kielbassa, eggs, pancakes and Pascha for breakfast.

    We visit with my husband’s family on Easter Sunday. My mother in law prepares a banquet of foods, and we and my husband’s brothers and sister bring food. The brothers prepare and hide plastic Easter eggs with money and candy in them for all the cousins, even the older teens. They are extremely devious egg-hiders. This year, one plastic egg with $5 in it was hidden in the dirt of the vacuum cleaner in the hall closet. There was a particular michieveous gleam in the eye of the brother that hid that one as he doled out cryptic clues!

    It’s always a fun time.

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