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Childhood Memories of Lent and Easter

easter eggs

Today is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, which means it is 40 days until Easter Sunday. As an adult Catholic, I believe this is the most important holiday we celebrate. Without Christ sacrificing himself on the cross for our souls, we would not have a religion.

During Lent we fast, we abstain, we renew ourselves, we do penance and we pray.

The week preceding Easter is Holy Week, which consists of Holy Thursday, Good Friday (the solemn day that Christ was crucified) and then Lent ends on midnight, Holy Saturday, the day of penance. On Easter Sunday we celebrate the resurrection of Christ. This is a very joyous day for all Christians.

Being raised in a Catholic Italian home, Easter was a holiday that we joyfully celebrated.

Fasting meant eating fish on Friday and as a child who didn’t like fish, this was a sacrifice. Abstinence, to me as a child, meant giving up something I truly loved. Penance meant going to confession and confessing my sins. For me as a child it usually was “I fought with my sister and pulled her hair”.

It was a time of buying a very special outfit to wear to church on Easter Sunday. Mothers’ would be busy planning a special Easter meal and baking and cooking the once a year treats. Easter bread and sausage pie (recipe posted) come to mind. They also had to prepare meatless dishes on Fridays aside from fish and they would come up with some delicious meals. I plan to post several of our meatless dishes that Mom made and I think you will enjoy making them, not just during Lent, but all year round.

The most difficult part of Lent for me was giving up something I loved.

Like most children, that sacrifice usually it was candy. Just think, no candy for 40 days and the store shelves would be stocked with chocolate covered marshmallow bunnies, milk chocolate bunnies with long ears, and my all time favorite yellow marshmallow chicks. Oh, how I craved those chicks and wished they would be in my Easter basket. I would longingly gaze at the shelves with the marshmallow chicks. My Aunts would make Easter baskets for my sister and me. They would always be filled to the brim and, of course, my little yellow marshmallow chicks would be there.

When I became a parent, I lovingly made my son, John, and daughter, Allison, their Easter baskets and filled them with all their favorite goodies. Now that they are adults with children of their own, I know they carry on the same tradition and the heritage of our Easter Sundays.

I wish you all a joyous and Happy Easter!

6 Responses to “Childhood Memories of Lent and Easter”

  1. Laura says:

    That was a nice post, Mary. Growing up we did not observe Lent in our faith, but now as an adult attending a Methodist church I see how this can be a great time of reflection in my spiritual life. I also look forward to your recipe for Easter bread. I remember my cousin, Frannie, always made a sweet bread that had colored hard boiled eggs in it in the shape of an Easter basket that she brought to every Easter dinner. I wonder if yours is similar.

  2. Mary says:

    @Laura,
    Glad you liked the post and can relate to it.I just baked my Easter bread and will be posting the recipe soon.I am sure it’s like the one your cousin made and yes, you can put hard boiled eggs on it. The recipe will be coming soon.

  3. Natalie says:

    Mary do you remember that during Lent on Sunday you were able to have anything you had given up such as candy and how we couldn’t wait to have that treat? I loved the yellow marshmellow chicks and always had some stashed away for Sunday.
    This blog really brought back memories.

  4. Mary says:

    Hi Nat:
    Yes, I do remember but now I wonder if that was a church rule or did we make that up so we could eat candy on Sunday? Are there any readers out there who know the answer?

  5. Natalie says:

    This was a church rule. You could also be allowed to eat meat and whatever you gave up on religous holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day and the feast of St. Joseph.
    I believe these rules are still in existence today.

  6. Rich says:

    For the “definitive” answer to cheating on Sundays during Lent, there’s always Yahoo! Answers:

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080210123513AATDNwh

    Almost as good as asking the Vatican LOL.

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