We caught the number 3 bus to downtown. Perhaps my little sister was with us, but my memory’s eye sees only Mom and me. It was our annual trip for something special for Easter Sunday.
I can’t recall any dress purchases. The buy was more likely to be a white brimmed bonnet with an elastic band fitting tight under my chin. Or perhaps one that formed an arch over my head with rows of stiff white lace and small spikes of plastic to keep it in place. With seven siblings, a day like this was surely special.
Preparing for the Easter Sunday mass where I’d joyfully be singing my alleluias and glorias meant laying out clothes on Saturday night. Black patent leather shoes polished with Vaseline. A pair of thin white anklets trimmed in a pink, blue, or yellow pastel lace, the type that would slip down the back of your heels before you walked the distance from pew to communion rail. And perhaps best of all, one’s white cotton gloves.
When my children were small, the Easter rituals did not include the Catholicism of my childhood but did include classics—a hilarious hunt, the mandatory coconut bunny cake with bow tie, and baskets with enough sugar to rival Halloween. These years, with children grown and living away, the holiday is different. Eggs will be deviled by the time our family of adults arrive. Bakery-bought macaroons replace the bunny cake. But one ritual remains: I’ll dress for the occasion.
It’s been patiently waiting for two months, like my mother’s layaway purchases of my childhood. Last winter, After Bev’s mom died, I was gifted her 1940s pink dress with large deep blue flowers, short sleeves, and buttons down the front. I hung it with happy anticipation that spring would come. And now it has.
The forms of our rituals change, but their power to connect us remains. Some of mine are sacred. Some may seem silly. The eggs boiling. The yellow cloth napkins. The Peter Rabbit plate. As I don my dress for the day, I’ll reflect and remember. I’ll give thanks to all who make the present moments precious because they once made a past moment so.
What rituals do you have for this season?
Have your rituals transformed over time?
How do your rituals connect you with others?