When I look at the Easter cross, I am reminded of my childhood. For me, Easter always conjures up so many memories – taking me back to my Catholic upbringing; crossing my heart, school holidays,Ash Wednesday, Easter baskets and cards, going to church and eating Cadburys crème eggs and hot cross buns.
Back then in school – cards were made and not bought. I can still remember drawing the cross, bunnies and eggs, making paper baskets stuffed with tissue paper and giving up chocolate for Lent; being marked on the forehead with ash on Ash Wednesday by the Bishop and knowing that I was very special in God’s eyes.
Hot Cross Buns
One of my favourite things about Easter was and still is; Hot cross buns. During Springtime and Lent in the UK they are often made as an alternative to regular bread.
In the bible it tells us in John 6:35; “Jesus said to his friends, I am the bread of life. Whosoever comes to me will never become hungry and whoever believes in Me will never become thirsty.”
I don’t what is is but there is just something comforting about eating a hot cross bun. The specially baked bun was named ‘hot cross buns’ by the Purists in 1733 to mark Christ’s crucifixion. With it’s sweet smell of cinnamon and nutmeg, fluffy, almost pillowy texture of spiced dough with raisins and candied fruit, honey glazed on top, with strips of chewy pastry that form a perfect cross. I sometimes wonder if the cross is what makes the buns taste so good.
Once in home economics, we baked hot cross buns, but they never turned out right, very hard and not at all like the ones in the bakery!
Going to Church
Back then as a child going to church on Easter Sunday was just what one did. In my family everyone wore their Sunday best. My Mum would not have been seen outside without her damask headscarf and matching wrapper, no not on Easter Sunday. It was a very special day, me and my siblings were excited.
Easter Mass would go on forever, as I waited in joyful hope to eat chocolate. I remember how excited I was at the end of service to light a candle, and dip my finger in holy water to mark my forehead with the cross.
Church was nearby to our house, and back then the buses did not run on Easter Sunday, so we walked home. This was often followed by some bickering by us siblings as children do. My mum would look on with that glance of hers, which meant no fighting or arguing over who got what today ‘or else’.
Mum liked to invite people around for dinner on Easter Sunday and sometimes we would have a special guest like an auntie or uncle, or cousins, or someone who might be on their own who would come around for the afternoon.
There was always thoughts of getting loads of chocolate, but never asking for it though. We would count ourselves lucky if we were given extra Easter eggs; asking for anything was just unheard of. And we couldn’t just be eating egg after egg, no the Easter egg would last a few days at least and we would share the chocolate between us. I guess you could say that we were just glad to have chocolate after six weeks of not having any at all!
Just like Christmas
Eating dinner together was almost like Christmas Day, Mum would cook a delicious meal with some special Nigerian dishes and there was always desser or two and hot cross buns! I can still remember sitting on the stairs at home aged eleven, over hearing relatives in the front room talking and laughing; with all the aromatic smells of Easter dinner in the air. Oh how I miss those Easters!
Now when thnnk about Easter, I still remember those years but I think more about God’s love and his selfless sacrifrice for me.