Growing up Catholic (and 12 years of Catholic school!) I remember Easter as being a pretty big religious holiday. When me and my sister were kids, my mom used to make us cute little Easter outfits to wear to church. My sister was a little more into the cute dresses than I was but I do remember loving to wear those cool white bonnets with the long ribbons down the back. They also flew like frisbies if you threw them hard enough.
After Mass we used to go over to my Nona and Nono's (mom's parents) house and we'd have an Easter egg hunt. Nona would fill those plastic colored eggs with money and hide them in the yard. And I'm not talking dimes and nickels here, I'm talking paper money... $5, $10, even sometimes $20! The entire family used to participate, not just the kids (who wouldn't!). Though I do vaugely remember the kids got a head start.
One year, we all come back onto the patio and while opening our eggs and counting our money we see Nona hovering around us like she's looking for something. My mom asks her what she's looking for and she says that there's still a $20 egg out there somewhere. Now let me give you a little background on Nona's yard. Nona is one of the best gardeners I know (even today). She used to have beautiful tropical plants everywhere. She lived in Palos Verdies, CA overlooking the ocean and Catalina island. Her backyard looked like the Italian island of Iscia where she was from (off the Almafi coast). The yard was big. Real big. Real lush. Nona didn't make a treasure map. Whoops. We all looked for an hour and no money egg anywhere (though I do remember recruiting some more snails for my snail army). A couple years later while gardening, Nona finds the egg and the semi-decomposed $20 bill. But even the liquor store wouldn't take it when she tried to buy her lottery tickets. Great memories.
Although I'm not very religious now, Easter Sunday is still a day to spend with family eating and drinking (and drinking and drinking). This weekend has been really fun so far. My honey, Alan, is Jewish so he was very facinated with the whole Easter egg decorating. Friday was his first time. See, I usually go for an art deco look which basically involes throwing the eggs in as many colors as possible and then putting as many hideous stickers on them as I possibly can. Quantity, not quality, baby. Alan, on the other hand, took so much care in designing his eggs (all two of them). I do have to say that his were definate masterpieces. Of course, I had to break the news to him that my dad was just going to crack them open and eat them. But it was fun.
Later this afternoon we're heading over to mom's. Typically my mother makes enough gormet food to put Martha Stewart to shame. If 8 people are coming, she'll make food to feed at least 25. Now when we were kids we usually had some kind of roast or ham on Easter. When we got older the tradition changed to going out to a nice big brunch. This year Nona wanted to take it back home and cook. This year we're making rabbit. Yes, we're cooking up cute little easter bunnies and eating them. And if that's not enough, were also roasting a cute little lamb to go with the easter bunnies. My mom would never let Nona make this dish on Easter when we were kids because of the obvious freak-out factor, but we used to raise rabbits and I LOVE LOVE LOVE rabbit. And the way my Nona makes it is amazing. I can't wait!
I know my family is not normal, but we all love eachother very much and that's what these religous holidays mean to me nowadays... getting together with the people you love most in this world and having a good time. HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!