To anyone reading this post, I wish you a happy holiday, whichever one you happen to observe. In our house it’s Easter, and while my family isn’t particularly religious, a celebration of spring and renewal after a long, cold winter seems apposite–and certainly welcome.
Bulgarian Orthodox Easter Eggs, photo by Ikonact
It’s been years since we dyed Easter eggs, probably because hard-boiled eggs, while pleasant in moderation, pall a bit after the first two or three. Likewise, it’s been a while since we had the Big Family Feed, probably because we already do that on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and it’s come to feel like too much work to do it three times a year. (We have taken to getting together for dessert, though.)
But there are other little rituals that retain their old charm and tend to be practiced more often than not. We used to watch the Astaire-Garland musical, Easter Parade, which was always running on some TV station or other on Easter Sunday. Some years, we’d follow it up with Harvey, another seasonal favorite. (Granted, Harvey’s actually a Pooka, but if the Easter Bunny existed, I’m sure they’d be well acquainted.)
A more recent ritual is purchasing some daffodils, which, for me, have become the quintessential spring flower. Trader Joe’s offers a bunch of 10 for about $1.30, a very reasonable price for a fistful of sunshine. Many of these bunches come with the buds still closed, so you have the pleasure of watching them unfurl before your eyes when you put them in water. The sight of them, golden and insouciant, can brighten any day.
John Singer-Sargent, Daffodils in a Vase
Wordsworth’s “Daffodils” is justly famous, but today, I’m choosing the following poem by A. E. Housman, which captures the beauty and transience of the flower and the holiday with which it’s become so closely associated;
The Lent Lily
‘Tis spring; come out to ramble
The hilly brakes around,
For under thorn and bramble
About the hollow ground
The primroses are found.
And there’s the windflower chilly
With all the winds at play,
And there’s the Lenten lily
That has not long to stay
And dies on Easter day.
And since till girls go maying
You find the primrose still,
And find the windflower playing
With every wind at will,
But not the daffodil,
Bring baskets now, and sally
Upon the spring’s array,
And bear from hill and valley
The daffodil away
That dies on Easter day.
–Alfred Edward Housman
Do you have any seasonal/holiday rituals? I’ll be giving away a signed copy of Waltz with a Stranger to one commenter this week.