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Cultural Traditions for Easter and Easter Dinner

I'd love to hear about what traditions folks have for Easter and Easter dinner.

I grew up in Canada in a British household and the only "tradition" I would say we had was that my Mom always purchased Terry's Chocolate Easter Eggs. Inside was a tray of Terry's chocolates. I don't know if Terrys is still around but I haven't seen those eggs in years.

Since my family didn't have any firm traditions, over the years I've tended to pick a country and prepare their traditional dishes for our Easter celebration.

I'd love to hear about everyone else's traditions.

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  1. Ah - family Easter dinner. Always started out with my paternal grandmother's homemade strudel-style Spanokopita. And mom's array of pinwheel canapes.

    And either a fresh pork roast, roast leg of lamb, or rarely a smoked ham. Sides ALWAYS included Czech bread dumplings & sauerkraut, some type of potato dish (plain boiled or a gratin), & several other vegetables.

    Mom also AWAYS made Deviled Eggs, & everything was decorated with sugary "Peeps". In fact, to this day, even though I never eat the darn things, I ALWAYS buy a package of "Peeps" for Easter (in fact, just bought a pack today). Something I just always have to do. . . .

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bacardi1

      My Mom is a Peep addict. She is so happy now that they come in different colors and for different holidays. Never shared her passion, also can't stand those Circus Peanut orange candies that are in the same class, at least to me. She just eats hers though, she probably couldn't wait long enough to actually decorate with them (although I have a set of the fabric ones which make an appearance every year, in her honor).

    2. Must have country ham for dinner. Oh, and coconut cake (was raised in the south, and I think the coconut is a tradition there).

      And while the Mr. and I are retired, I still make little Easter baskets with a few Easter eggs and a bit of candy. And we have a tiny stuffed bunny--lives in a drawer 364 days a year--that I pull out and put at his place setting Easter morning.

      Forgot: champagne.

      2 Replies
      1. re: pine time

        Oh yes! Usually mimosas unless it is a Bloody Mary crowd. Tanguerey and tonic for Grandma.

      2. I usually host Easter and it is one my favorite meals to cook.

        I start with a fun cocktail for when people arrive.

        Apps are generally light-crudite, deviled eggs, mixed olives, maybe some nuts. There will be a bar set up, wine and soft drinks/seltzers.

        Dinner is roasted leg of lamb with a rosemary mustard glaze, roasted garlic potatoes, hot cross buns, Sichuan green beans, asparagus, ginger carrots, maybe a salad. If vegetarian relative comes I will also make some kind of veggie lasagna. My brother usually brings an array of reds to serve with dinner

        Dessert is my sisters bailiwick. Usually some kind of fancy cake.

        After dinner (before dessert) we have a huge Easter Egg hunt for the kids. They will then indulge in candy while the adults have coffee and dessert.

        I make a big easter basket for my son to open in the AM. Not too much candy in this, mostly spring related things. Usually seeds for planting, new lacrosse balls or other lacrosse stuff, small outdoor toys, etc

        Probably my favorite part though is setting the table and decorating around the house. I have collected great Easter related things such as assorted Dedham pottery platters, serving dishes, candlesticks, etc. Gorgeous pastel linens and napkins. Cute place mats, napkins and glasses for the kids table. Plus I splurge on lots of flowers. Cant wait!

        1. The dewy early egg hunt (before church at 9:00) has apparently overshadowed the details of the Easter Sunday dinners in my memory.

          It was usually just the three of us, at home.

          There was definitely lamb. At least once it was lovely chops. If Easter was on the mid to late end, we'd have our own asparagus, and mint from the patch by the spring. Given today's four inches of snow, we're a ways from asparagus, and even the mint in the backyard bed isn't big enough to use. But we're having lamb next Sunday for sure, a roast half leg.

          When winter is this long and Easter so early, there is just no hope of new potatoes, so we go with the storage potatoes we've got, mashed or gratineed; green herbs do the work of signaling spring, greening, and rebirth/resurrection. Come to think of it, creamed potatoes with scallions and/or peas was my mother's usual companion to the lamb.

          Lemon seems to strike the right note, with all the acid yellow from the daffodils; it's a given if asparagus is on hand. Spinach or peas fill in if not.

          We weren't much of a dessert family, but I seem to remember a pound cake -- to celebrate the upsurge in eggs (we had chickens for much of my childhood). At Easter, eggs belong on the menu one way or another. My way this year: lemon curd tartlets, or a custard.

          1. My family is from the south; we usually have a baked ham, maybe some braised greens, definately roasted asparagus, some type of potato dish and desserts are usually up in the air depending on what we have a taste for...I hate coconut so if it gets to the table it won't be by my hands....I have some fresh limes that I juiced and froze so perhaps a lime curd tart with fresh berries