by Bette G. Rinehart
Spring signals the rebirth of nature. The season brings rain, new leaves, bugs, baby animals, flowers popping up, the first bounty from your garden and a basket full of holidays.
Spring traditions could mean donning a mask on Fat Tuesday, hunting for Easter eggs, tricking a friend with an April Fool's Day trick, planting a tree for Earth Day, enjoying a delicious Mother's Day brunch, or feasting on Kosher foods. No matter what holidays you celebrate, you have or can create treasured traditions to share with the kids.
Eggs -- The Symbol of Spring
Spring has been celebrated throughout human history as a time of rebirth following the "dying of the year" in Winter. As a fertility symbol, eggs hold a central and well-deserved place in seasonal customs.
Egg rolling: The race is on! In European countries, children rolled eggs down grassy hills, sometimes coaxing them along with a stick or spoon. Depending on the culture, the egg that goes the farthest, survives the most rolls or goes between two pegs, wins. Some say this tradition is connected to the rolling the rock away from the tomb on Easter morning. The White House hosts an annual egg roll. Ticket are distributed by lottery.
Eggs on end: This tradition, most often attributed to the Chinese, says that you can stand raw eggs on end on the first day of spring. The balance of the vernal equinox affects even eggs. According to Snopes.com, depending on their shape, an egg can be balanced on end any day of the year. What do you think?
Egg hunt: An Anglo-Saxon legend tells that the goddess Eostre found a wounded bird and transformed it into a hare, so that it could survive the Winter. The hare found it could lay eggs, so it decorated these each spring and left them as offering to the goddess. To this day, children hunt for those eggs.
Tapping and jarping: Each player hold a hard boiled egg and gently taps his opponent's until one cracks. The winner takes his intact egg on to the next round. Bonnie shares, "Our extended family gathers on Easter Sunday to have an egg tapping contest. The friendly rivalry can gets very competitive, but usually ends in laughter."
Too many eggs: As the days get longer, our faithful chickens get busy. Even if you don't have your own chickens you'll see a sudden abundance of eggs at the market. Take a fresh look at Spring by carefully opening the shells near the top, cooking up a treat with the eggs and filling the shells with potting soil. Add a handful of wheat or a favorite vegetable seed and wait for another spring time miracle -- re-growth.
Spring -- A Garden of Growth
New growth and flowers are another source of Spring holiday traditions. For some families, Spring means a trip to the flower fields. For others, it means a dig in the garden. There are families where this time of year means celebrating the beginning of Summer!
A spring blessing: Sandy's family celebrates by planting seeds. Each family member chooses a seed that represents a trait they'd like to cultivate during the year, like patience or wisdom. They place the seeds in a pot and pat the earth down, add water, breathe on it and hold it up to the sun. Just as the seed sprouts and grows, so can each trait.
May Day baskets: As far as holidays go, May Day could be one of the oldest. For thousands of years, small baskets of sweets or flowers have been left anonymously on neighbors' doorsteps. Rumor has it, if your neighbor catches you leaving one, they get a kiss!
Dance around the May Pole: Dancers weave ribbons around a pole decorated with greenery and flowers. The simplest patterns -- in and out -- can be negotiated by even a young child. In ancient times, dancers wove around living trees as part of spring fertility rites.
Festival of flowers: In our area, spring brings huge fields of colorful tulips. Small town host fun-filled festivals with events for all ages. Our spring tradition includes soaking in the colors and smells of spring.
Unique Spring Celebrations
Spring brings to mind new, fresh and different. The holidays you celebrate don't have to be rooted in antiquity. National Bubble Gum Week, Chocolate Week, Arts and Crafts Month all occur in the spring. Build new traditions around one of these unusual celebrations.
Family activities revolve and evolve as you celebrate everything from Mardi Gras to Spring Break. What are your favorite spring traditions in your home?
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