| How Easter was
Easter brought with it its own special rituals and preparations. All
winter Grandmother saved the deep-red and rich brown onion
skins and these made the dye for Easter eggs. A few days before Easter,
she gathered leaves, grasses and small flowers. These were arranged around
the egg, leaving plenty of the shell exposed. The egg was wrapped in thin
cloth, and tied securely to keep the leaves and grasses in place.
Then the red onion shells were placed in one kettle, the brown ones in another,
and the eggs laid carefully in the bottom and covered with cold water.
When they had boiled the sufficient length of time, the eggs were removed from the
deeply-colored onion water, cooled, and unwrapped. Beautiful patterns had
been made by the grasses and leaves, with the back ground color of the eggs
warm brownish orange or cranberry red. Mom died our Easter eggs in the
same manner for many years. Grandmother hid the children's eggs in the
hay, and they were sure that the "Osterhas" (Easter bunny)
had brought them.
If Easter was late, and the weather warm enought to permit it, a special
ritual was observed by the older girls. They arose before sunrise, walked
bare-footed throught the dewy grass to the nearby creek, and when the sun
began to rise, washed their face in the cold water. If this was done while
the sun was rising, they were assured beauty and many blessings for the
entire year. They filled a bottle with "Easter water" to take home, and a
few drops applied to the face each day would surely bring beauty. They
also believed that if you wore the membrane removed from inside the
eggshell over your fingertips, all of Easter day, you would be
protected against illness and evil for the year.
[Reported by Pamela Tanner, Virginia Beach, Va., 1999,
from a book written by Erna Albert, Washington State,
in memory of the Warskow family from Pomerania]