Residence: Carlisle, MA
Date of Performance/Collection: 3/19/2013
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): French
Informant Bio: Informant is my mother. She was born in West Virginia and spent her childhood moving around the country, eventually settling in Massachusetts. She was exposed to many different traditions as she moved around the country as a child and still carries some with her to this day.
Context: I was interviewing my mother about traditions, stories and rituals she remembers from her childhood.
Item: “Growing up in the Kentucky hills, Easter celebration is special. Everyone dresses up in beautiful new spring clothes; the girls wore hats and white gloves. First we went to church. As a child it seemed to take FOREVER. We had to wait for the service to end, the socializing after the service to end, AND THEN the good stuff started. We got to go to my grandfather’s house. He hid Easter eggs all over his yard. He had a HUGE yard and he loved to watch his grandchildren running all over frantically trying to find the most eggs! We got a new basket to hold our eggs each year. Also, my grandfather always gave my grandmother a chocolate rabbit as a gift! Also, she didn’t like chocolate; but, it was his tradition, he always did it, and they laughed about it each year”.
Analysis: Easter seemed to be a very religious event for the adults but not for the kids. Like Christmas, it seemed to bring people together (but to not as great an extent). Easter also served as a way to usher in the changing of seasons, with the wearing of spring-type clothes, hats (for the sun) and white gloves (a southern tradition, but again showing the coming sun, brightness and purity that spring brings).
The grandfather’s house serves as the rendezvous point for the entire family, showing the prominent and important position that elders held in Southern families. The inclusion of eggs and an egg hunt is prevalent throughout many Christian cultures and seems to define the whole experience for the children. This may have served as a way to blend tradition and religious context with fun in a way that would reinforce the message about Jesus Christ while helping the children have an enjoyable experience and make memories after sitting through the lengthy Church service earlier in the day.