Just came back from the 6 am Easter mass as I visit Grandma here in very Catholic Warsaw, Poland. It began with a procession whereby the priest, followed by the congregation, circumnavigated the church three times, all the while a series of explosions going off in the background to punctuate the event.
Tomorrow is Lany Poniedzialek, Wet Monday, which is basically an excuse for the neighborhood kids to douse whoever they like with cold water.
This got me thinking a bit about Easter and the Amish. It turns out Amish kids (and adults) have their fun too. A little bit on what they might be up to these days, from John A. Hostetler’s Amish Society:
‘There is no special celebration on Easter, but some practices among the children are survivals of ancient European customs. For two or three weeks before Easter, some children go to the henhouse daily and get a few eggs, which they hide in a secret place in the barn. On Easter morning the eggs are brought to the house to see who has collected the most. Colored Easter eggs are common…on [Ascension Day] young people, or whole families, go out into the woods for picnics and the boys may go fishing…On weekday holidays hunting is generally not taboo, but such prohibitions vary with regional folkways and mores.
Good Friday was never observed very strictly in my family in Pennsylvania, but when we moved to Iowa our neighbors were greatly perturbed when my father permitted his sons to do field work on that day.’
Hostetler was raised Amish, later becoming a renowned professor and author.
The Easter Bunny is conspicuously absent at Amish Easter, just as a number of popularized symbols are missing from other holidays.
Santa and the tree play no part in the Amish Christmas, for example, and, of course, you’ll never see a jack-o-lantern on an Amish porch, as no Amish observe the pagan-rooted event–though one wisecracking Amishman did once claim to me that his family celebrated Halloween.
It turned out that what they actually ‘celebrated’ that day was his daughter’s October 31st birthday.