Sparkling Vintage Fiction. Among other things.

When’s the last time you wore lace-edged anklets? Remembering Easters of yore

easter2I’m old enough to remember how people used to get all dressed up for Easter. Of course I understand this was a secular tradition that had little to do with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and I suppose I’m meant to be glad that this human-centered emphasis of dressing up has fallen by the wayside. Because ordinary workaday clothes are so much more authentic, right?  I’m being a little sarcastic here, but it’s true that the traditional “Easter parade” was peripheral to the glory of Christ’s resurrection. (I’m told that the tradition of new clothes at Easter had its origins in the early Christians, many of whom chose to wear new white robes when they were baptized on Easter, to signify their new life in Christ. Or maybe it was an invention of the milliners’ union. Who knows?)

Theological considerations aside, in my heart of hearts, I miss the tradition of dressing up at Easter. I still dress up, somewhat, but more and more I feel like an anachronism, a beacon of pink or peach or lilac in a sea of practical neutral colors. I can’t help but miss it all–the pretty spring colors, the hats, the gloves, the lace–the effort put in to mark Easter as the special day that it is.

As a child I was always decked out for Easter. I remember bonnets with elastic under the chin, full skirts, petticoats, lace-edged white socks, patent-leather mary janes. And white gloves. Oh, the gloves! Standing out in my memory is the year my older brothers spent the better part of the ride to church in the backseat of the car, wrestling my wiggly preschooler fingers into white cotton gloves. So difficult was this task that I was warned on pain of–well, I don’t remember, exactly, but something awful, surely–not to remove those gloves under any circumstances. Wouldn’t you know, we were given chocolate in Sunday school that day. White gloves plus chocolate equals one major mess. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), in those pre-digital-camera and pre-Facebook days, no one thought to snap a picture to preserve the wreckage for all time.

I notice that nowadays a lot of moms dress their little girls to the nines on Easter, but for themselves wear their same old everyday mom clothes. I wonder what that says to the little girl–that growing up means no more pretty dresses? That dressing up is for children only? That seems so very sad to me.

I stumbled upon this new blog, A Ribbon in My Journal, written by the editor of Victoria magazine, in which she shares her own Easter memories of dressing up. It brought back memories for me–maybe it will do the same for you as well.

What do you remember about your childhood Easters?

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