So I went out last night to pick up my egg dying kit for Easter , and hit every store that I could find. Would you believe, not one store had it. They did not even know what I meant. At that moment, as so often happens, I realized, I am not in the states any more. Sure globalization has affected everything and Tesco looks like Wal-Mart, Meijer’s, Kmart, and Target all combined, but it’s still not in America. So I began wondering what other things are different about Easter in my adopted country.
Easter for me in the states was always dyeing eggs a few days before the holiday. Then the day of we would wake up early to a large Easter Basket loaded with candy, fake grass, the eggs we had dyed before, chocolate eggs, and toys. Oh, and of course, it would not be Easter with out Pennsylvania’s own Peeps. With our family there would be an outfit or two also. Then we would go off to church, (when I was young that is, being atheist I certainly don’t practice this one still, weddings or funerals only.) When we got home we would do a Easter egg hunt, where there would be clues and eggs hidden through out the yard. Generally from my very over motivated sister who would wake up at ungodly hours to hide them. One time giving herself frost bite so bad that her hands never worked well in the cold again. Before my sister my dad would do all the hiding. Then we would have some sort of dinner, and that would be the end of it. Maybe some Easter TV specials at night. That’s Easter for me.
Let’s start with the egg dyeing thing. There are multiple problems with this one in Ireland. For one, good luck finding white eggs. They are all free range, organic eggs, from the petrol stations to grocery stores. That’s all they seem to carry. Then like I said, the egg dying kits, They DO Not Exist! No colorful dies, with oils mixed in, glitter kits, or stencils. No metal egg holders or cardboard display cases. Nope, they are just not here. Best you can get is a tempura paint kits with stencils for the eggs.
Now, in place of this bit though, Ireland has the Easter Tree, not to be mistaken for the genocide of pine trees. Nope, this is a broken branch of any tree that you can find, which you put in a pot. The pot may have soil in it, or plastic grass, foam, or anything really. That part does not matter, but you have a leafless tree in the house. Then you get premade, pre-decorated plastic/wood eggs that have little hangers on them. On Easter morning the Easter Bunny brings these for the kids so that they can decorate the tree. Which I do think is a wonderful tradition, one we will bring home for Skylar to do.
Under the tree will be an Easter basket too, just like America. But they will almost always have a massive, say like the size of a football, oversized chocolate egg in it. Yes, more chocolate than any kid should have in a week. Mmm, and now you can get all kinds of flavors and fillings in them. Cream, Kit Kat, caramel, you name it you can get it. You can get gourmet ones made from dark chocolate, or cheap milk chocolate. But they will be big. In fact, everyone gives these too; the crèche (day care), baby sitters, Aunts, Uncles, Moms, and Dads. This is the thing to give each other. So by the end, you have a collection of giant chocolate eggs. Mmmmm, that is, unless you are on a diet. In addition you might get some Chocolate Easter Rabbits too.
Now, for most people here, Church would be part of the day too. Instead of church we decided to go to an Easter egg hunt in Huntington Castle. Ironically, this is where the Isis cult started in Ireland, which then spread across the world. Not the terrorist group, but a pagan 1970s group who had some crazy parties in their dungeon celebrating all things Isis. Ishtar is similar goddess, which is a fertility god, which is pronounced Easter. Anyway, the founder of it died in 2013, at 96 years, and was the Great Aunt of the current owners. The basement is interesting. But more importantly, they had an Easter egg hunt here and baby sheep to play with.
So we celebrated here, hunting eggs through the gorgeous castle grounds, which are extensive. We might not have found all the golden rocks, but for a two year old, Skylar kicked butt in the cold. We also got to hug some really cute lambs and baby goats.
Following this would be a formal dinner serving a leg or lamb or some variation of it. There would be Easter poppers, like the Christmas ones, and cute sheep and lambs decorating plates. Then there would be the traditional cake to finish the holiday out. The cake normally would be a heavy fruit cake.
The last difference between Irish Easter and American Easter is there are no PEEPS! Now everyone knows I absolutely love Peeps, so this is pretty tough on me. But I suppose, in the end, it’s a small price to pay. Now, these are simply my findings on the differences of Easter in Ireland and America. I could be wrong about everything.