Traditions spring into my mind frequently and so important are them to me, that I feel that I should write them down.
Most family homes underwent spring cleaning , probably commencing around February or March, and it all had to be completed before Holy Week. Winter curtains were washed, pillows, bedspreads, cushion covers etc. Rugs and carpets were beaten vigorously; for the housewife it was a massive task, but when the house sparkled, it was considered to be time well spent, and the doom of Winter just swept away.
Palm Sunday arrived and after dinner figs were put on the table, that was a lovely tradition. It was atmospheric in our home, being constantly aware of the days ahead, and what lay ahead especially Good Friday and the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ.
On Wednesday Mum asked the family still living at home, if they had any hosiery or gloves that needed washing, if so to sort them out, as no items of clothes etc were ever laundered on Good Friday.
On Maundy Thursday morning, we went to church and after returning back to school, we were dismissed and allowed to go home, and our Easter holiday began.
My father, being a baker, on Maundy Thursday had a rest in the afternoon. The reason was that he would be working through the night, to make Host Cross Buns. He would return home between 6:30 and 7am the following morning bringing with him the delicious still, warm buns. I can still smell the yeasty, sweet and sticky aroma today – pungent! So that Dad could have an hour or two of well earned sleep, I usually took our adorable bull mastiff dog for a walk, gathering friends along the way. Remembering also to be reverent, this was a sacred day. We always had fish with parsley sauce, followed by jam tart and egg custard. No meat on the menu at all, on Good Friday.
What a lovely, delicate perfume violets have! Sheer miniature beauties in springtime. Fortunately in our garden, they grew abundantly, so on Saturday, the gathering of them began.
Out came the exquisite shallow glass dish which was always used to display them on the highly polished dinning room table. So lovely to look at , and the heady perfume was wonderful.
Easter Saturday evening we sorted out the paints for decorating the eggs, ready to be boiled for breakfast next morning, after which we went to St Mary’s Church at Finedon for the Easter Sunday morning service. How we raised our voices to sing, “Jesus Christ is Risen today, Alleluia”
After a delicious roast dinner, the chocolate Easter Eggs came out. Such a wonderful display of colour and artistry. Some filled with goodies of sweets and even more chocolates.
This may be surprising, but I didn’t like chocolate, so the best part for me was cracking them open, smoothing out the coloured silver paper and being able to choose the best container. I remember one year I selected a basket. I kept it for years and it held my childhood treasures. As I write, the precious memories are still coming through – Halcyon days indeed.
What a contrast to the traumatic time that we are experiencing this Easter 2020, but as I have often heard said, “NOTHING LASTS FOR EVER”
Please God, let that be true.
Velma Munns (nee Freeman)