For others of us, who are not so religious, Easter is all about chocolate and/or bunnies! and they can pretty much take up all weekend. ;-)
Here in NZ, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday are statutory holidays, and most businesses are closed on Friday and Sunday. That means two entire days with the shops shut up firmly, aside from dairies (convenience stores, like a 7-11) and service stations (gas stations).
When I was a child, everything would pretty much be shut for the whole four days, as Saturday shopping only arrived in NZ in the mid-eighties, and Sunday shopping started while I was out of NZ on my OE (Overseas Experience) between 1987 and 1992. Now, people go nuts because the shops are shut on Friday and Sunday. So it can be pretty crazy there the other days! It's actually illegal to open up on these days here too, unless you have an exception, which has been interesting for Garden and Plant shops in years past, as many of them think it's a good time to be open while people are doing their last major gardening before the weather turns cold.
This year, as Easter is very late, we also have ANZAC day very close by (25th April), which is another half-day with the shops shut, (they open from noon on this day), so it's even more of a special time of the year than Christmas in many ways for us here.
I apologise for not touching much on the religious aspect, but coming from a household of agnostics and atheists (although I was brought up Methodist, we weren't exactly strict. My mother goes to church these days for the social aspect, I think. Me, I go to funerals and weddings and that's pretty much it), I don't recall any specific happenings or traditions that we observed relating to the crucifixion or the resurrection.
As a child, we never got individual eggs, nor did the Easter Bunny visit us, but Mum always bought a bunch of marshmallow eggs and we got a couple of them, if we were lucky:
They typically look like this and a cross section is like the second pic. The best kind actually had dark yellow 'yolk' marshamallow near the middle so they seemed more authentic.
My brothers, sister and I were always rather disappointed that we so rarely got hollow eggs, and marshmallow eggs were always 'boring', although in hindsight, better than nothing I suppose! My mum couldn't afford to buy four of us individual hollow eggs though, as they were quite expensive (and still are really!) and she was a single parent with a low income, so it's understandable. Occasionally we might get something more fancy from my grandparents or someone, but I don't recall it happening very often. We would eat chocolate like this on Easter Sunday.
We also always had Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday:
These are fruit buns with a cross of white dough across the top, and are best eaten warm, cut in half with a little butter on the opened side - maybe stuck back together, or maybe just eaten in halves.
Now I'm older, Easter still means days off work, but I do buy hollow eggs for my kids - in fact we all choose one (still no Easter bunny activity) and spend way too much on them! Then I buy individually wrapped small 'hunting' eggs and on Easter Sunday, I'll hide them around our garden (if it's fine) or inside the house (if wet) while the kids stay out of the way (and don't look!). When the eggs are all hidden, the kids come out and look for them. I like to play fair, so I make sure they will all get the same amount of each kind of egg (some solid small ones, some creme eggs and whatever else I can find that's cute), and I always count how many I've hidden so none get left behind to be found, ruined, months later! My kids love doing this hunt even now, and they are 11, 15 and 17! Tomorrow, we're having family over for lunch, so we're having my cousin's little boy (who's around 5 or 6) join in with the hunt, which will make it even more fun - the littlies are the best!
Hot cross buns are also in abundance - in fact, here in NZ at least, they are in the shops as soon as Christmas is over and done with, which seems crazy, but they are pretty good all the same. We even have 'hot cross bread' which is just like the buns only in loaf form. I bought some of this the other week, and just pulled it out of the freezer today. Toasted, it's delicious with butter, and the slices are so thick, they only just fit in my toaster! Normally I'd have them out for lunch on Good Friday, but I kinda forgot yesterday, so we had the bread out this afternoon, and tomorrow I have them to add to our 'pot luck' lunch with some of my family.
What special things do you and your family/friends like to do for Easter? Do you do any special religious-related things? What's your favourite kind of chocolate, or special Easter food to eat?
I shall finish with some Creme Eggs for you all today, and offer up a prompt for anyone wanting to write something with an Easter theme: