Easter Here & There

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By here and there I mean the US and the UK.

This post is not about what Easter is or why it is. This is merely my personal experience and observation of what was happening with me whilst I was in either country. I think in this day and age you either know the what/why of Easter or you don’t want to know it… but if you happen to, for whatever reason, not know, there is always Google. In fact, here, let me Google that for you! Why yes, they were running a great sale on commas and I have loads to share!

Anyway…

To be perfectly honest, when I lived in the UK I did I did not celebrate Easter. Well, OK, I did not celebrate Easter intentionally or go out of my way to celebrate it.

I sent gifts to family members for the occasion and I made a simnel cake or two around that time. I also ate some of the traditional Easter foods that were offered in stores (hot crossed buns, coconut cakes, chocolate eggs & other candies). I also took full advantage of several of the differences in the two countries Easter traditions. But in my mind, none of it constituted a “celebrating”. I just like cake/food and I love my family.

I find it funny/odd that in the UK they have what amounts to a “government religion” and because of this everyone gets “Good Friday” and “Easter Monday” off work, regardless of their own personal beliefs. While in the US, regardless of personal beliefs you might not even get Easter Sunday off work.

So much of what is celebrated in the UK is about actual Easter’ness, I mean the religiousness of it. Though it could just be my experience, but most everyone in the UK that I met was not particularly religious. In the US the proportion of people I’ve met in the US who are religious is enormous in comparison and yet, Easter celebration seems to be more about commercialism and less about religion. Though both countries seem to celebrate very similarly, but in general the people in the US say it is religious celebrating and the people in the UK don’t.

If you are American, when is the last time you baked hot cross buns or a simnel cake? Did you get up before the sun rise and watch it with a group of people? Do you know what the heck I’m talking about? Doesn’t matter, it’s not why I’m writing this!

I’ve always wondered why the two countries celebrations are what they are…

In the US we boil eggs, dye them and hide them for Easter egg hunts, while in the UK it’s small chocolate eggs or even plastic eggs with stuff/candy in them.

In the UK people give large chocolate eggs as gifts to children and adults. In the decade or so that I spent in the UK the theme of the eggs was much commercialized and you could get an egg that featured anything that was popular that year. Most themes were about TV shows and cartoons, but they were also a lot of special version themes of popular candies. The chocolate Easter egg isle of most grocery stores is enormous and they drag them out in like February.

Despite being relatively cheap, people seem overly excited about what egg they will be receiving. I always found this funny and odd, considering they have some of the best chocolate (that I’ve ever had) available to them all year round and the Easter egg chocolate is generally not very good. For example, you can get a 16 ounce bar of chocolate that will make your eyes roll up in your head for around £2/$3. A cheap chocolate Easter egg is about that price but half the weight and the overall quality is not as good, mostly so it will stay in the egg shape.

When I was a kid growing up in the US, my parents knocked themselves out making our Easter baskets. They generally featured a chocolate bunny accompanied by jelly beans, malted eggs, small toys and lots of shredded pastel colored cellophane AKA “Easter Grass”. I believe that a chocolate bunny and jelly beans in a basket are still the tradition, though Easter grass has changed a lot. Also, most candy companies have caught on and are gearing there normal everyday candy towards Easter specifically. Which, much like in the UK I find odd. I can get the same candy for about a $1. So why pay $3 for it because it’s in Easter packaging? I’d rather have the candy and more money, but I’m just wacky like that!

Oh yes, then there is the Cadbury Egg. The gooey sugar filled mock chicken embryo. Not so appealing when you think of it like that huh? Why yes, yes I am proud of myself for putting that thought in your head! I find them disgusting, I’m hoping you do too… now.

For most of my life in the US, the Cadbury Egg was only prominent at Easter. When I moved to the UK it was everywhere. Eaten like a common everyday candy bar! I remember seeing TV commercials for Cadbury Eggs that were near identical to the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercials that were on TV around that time in the US. Present day you can get them anytime of year in either country. I personally don’t care for Cadbury Egg, in case you didn’t get my subtle hints.

Now that I live in the US again, I do celebrate the day. We generally have a family dinner, dye eggs, give gifts to the kids and have an egg hunt. I’ve not baked a simnel cake since I’ve been back, I’m not sure anyone would like it. Well, I do like them, so maybe next year?

Have a happy Easter day, no matter where you live, what you believe or how you do or don’t celebrate.