by Gabbriella Kabler
My family bakes special cookies every year the night before Easter Sunday. Each ingredient is symbolic for an aspect of the Jesus story. For example, walnuts are added, after being crushed, to symbolize the brutality of how Jesus was beaten before death.
The batter is put on a baking sheet and the preheated oven is turned off when the cookies are put in. At this point, the cookies are left overnight in the oven to symbolize how Jesus was left in the tomb for three days after his death. In the morning the cookies are baked, but hollow.
Every year my mom explains to us how just like our cookies are empty in the morning, so when Jesus’ disciples checked his tomb in the morning, it was also empty. My mom uses this picture and the Easter holiday to explain the Gospel to my siblings and me.
In the Christian practice, Easter is a time of celebration and tradition to honor Jesus’ resurrection after his crucifixion. Many families celebrate this in both their own unique ways, and also in customary, more universal ways.
However, my family is not typical. Most Easter traditions, that are more widely practiced, focus on the holiday itself and the joy of being with family. Easter is a time that brings family together to have some fun. Thalia Gonzalez, sophomore studio art major, said that her mom would initiate their family-centered celebrations.
“My mom would, before we woke up, arrange little Easter candies from our bed leading all the way down the hall, down the stairs, through the kitchen, into the living room where she had set up and prepared little Easter baskets for us,” Gonzalez said.
A Christian herself, Gonzalez believes the purpose behind the Easter holiday is the celebration of Jesus’ death and resurrection. That event is one that should be shared and taught to the younger generations.
“[Easter] brings you closer because of the way that parents can teach their kids the purpose behind [it],” she said.
Part of the way this is done is through one of the biggest Easter traditions: attending a church service. Many churches advertise their Easter services, planning to serve a large crowd of both regular church-goers and people there just for the holiday. Such large church services often act simply as a show of religiosity for many, but for regular church attenders they can be a way to start Gospel conversations with family and friends.
“Some years there were so many, that people were standing in the back. There are usually a lot, because people will bring extended family,” Gonzalez said, “It’s a way of bringing more people to hear the resurrection story. People who don’t usually come will be there because they’ve been invited by a family or friend, or because they’re interested in seeing what it’s about.”
Isaiah Erway, freshman political science major, recalled how his family takes a casual view towards Easter.
“We take these eggs and make sure to crack open just the top of them so we can put confetti inside the eggs,” he said. “We put tissue paper over the top, and then Easter afternoon we all get together and smash them on each other’s heads.”
Erway detailed how his grandma got involved by choosing a family member to hit with a raw egg, instead of their confetti filled ones. Traditions like this one demonstrate the uniqueness of family interaction.
Abbigail Fearday, a freshman pharmacy major, recalled her fun family traditions from when she was young.
“My grandma would take Rice Crispies and put them in a lamb mold,” she said. “It represents that Jesus was the lamb that dies in our place, and it’s Eastery.”
Easter traditions in the Christian circle vary in style, but highlight two central factors: family and Jesus.
“God instituted the family, and Jesus wants us to enter into his family,” Erway said.
The death of Jesus is a unifying factor among Christians, as it acts as an invitation to join Jesus in his eternal inheritance. Family on earth, when celebrated in love and harmony, becomes a picture of the joy and fellowship of Easter time as well as the enduring family of Christians.
Gabbriella Kabler is a freshman Chemistry major and an off-campus writer for Cedars. She takes joy in big questions, fresh air, and fluffy kittens.
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