Even though Easter has passed, I still wanted to take a look at some of the Easter traditions in the United States. Because we are such a cultural melting pot, which I think is a beautiful thing, many of the traditions that we have are borrowed or adapted from other countries and cultures. But what do we have that’s distinctly American? I’m on the hunt to find out.
In some parts of the country, the Easter celebrations start with pre-Lenten festivals and parades. One such example of that is Mardi Gras (which is the culmination of a week long celebration) with the largest and most widely known parades taking places in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Another tradition that might be considered distinctly American, is the Easter parade. The Easter Parade has evolved from the leisurely stroll down 5th Avenue after Easter Sunday mass of the 1800s, to a grand affair joined by thousands of people and pets all over the United States. The first parades were a way for the upper classes to show off new formal Easter attire and fancy Easter bonnets. Irvine Berlin immortalized the New York event in the song Easter Parade in 1933. Nowadays, Easter Parades are held all over the United States in many forms. The Easter Parade is Richmond, VA’s favorite spring celebration, New Orleans holds an annual Gay Easter Parade, and Long Beach, California is the site of the yearly Haute-dog Easter Parade.
Something else that is distinctly American, is the White House Easter Egg Roll. The egg roll is a tradition that began on Capitol Hill in Washington in or near the year 1872. At that time, Washington children were invited to Capitol Hill to celebrate the Easter season together on Easter Monday. Each kid would roll a hard-boiled egg down the hill, and hope that it went the furthest without breaking, making them the winner. Today, the annual Easter egg roll still takes place at the White House, but the game has changed – kids now roll their eggs across the lawn with giant mixing spoons, and the one who gets across the finish line first without breaking their egg is the winner. The Easter egg roll has been cancelled due to weather and at times of war.
How else do we celebrate Easter in the United States?
- A special dish for Easter springtime in USA is baked ham, potatoes and vegetables. Another most demanding recipe is hot cross buns.
- It was in the early 1700’s, when for the first time, eggs were dyed and the credit for starting this practice in America can be attributed to Pennsylvania Dutch (German) settlers.
- As a part of Easter traditions in the US, sunrise services are held and the prime motive is to include various Christian religious groups in this event.
- Painting the Easter eggs and then conducting Easter egg hunt games for the kids is what most American parents do on the Easter week.
- Like in every other part of the globe, Easter symbols like bunnies, Easter tree, Easter Eggs and Easter lamb make their presence felt in every corner of the street, churches, shops and homes.
- The popular Easter symbols like Easter bunny and egg tree were first brought in by the German settlers who arrived in the Pennsylvania Dutch country during the 1700s. Eventually, American people accepted these crafts and made these symbols a vital part of their Easter celebrations.
- The book ‘Egg Tree’ by Katherine Milhous was credited with popularizing the custom of egg tree decoration in USA.
- Easter celebrations cannot be complete without extensive feasting. During Easter time, people in US binge on Easter delights like baked ham, potatoes, vegetables and other homemade delights.
So, as you can see, Easter traditions in the United States are a combination of distinctly American celebrations such as the White House Egg Roll and cultural traditions that were brought over by settlers. It’s one of the things that I love about the United States being such a cultural melting pot- we have the opportunity to experience so many different cultures all at once.