My mother, born and raised in Norway, was a Lutheran. When I was 4, she became baptized as a Jehovah’s Witness and raised us children as such. (We had no say in it, of course.) As a JW, my mother forbid all manner of fun – including all the Christian holidays and celebrations normally enjoyed by schoolchildren in the U.S. (Anything not approved by the JWs was deemed as a “pagan celebration” and/or part of an ancient “fertility rite.” Those were reasons given for denying my request to wear fishnet hose and get my ears pierced.)
This meant, of course, Easter was off the table. (source of Easter Island pic)
Sadly (though not uncommon for the time), my non-JW father left everything regarding child raising to my mother. His best friend from college was our Uncle Walter (no blood relation). Now Uncle Walter’s dad owned a great candy store in San Francisco, and every Easter he would bring huge baskets stuffed with amazing sweet creations for us children. Ignoring we children drooling with anticipation, my mother would never let us dive into the basket of goodies, claiming they could wait until the next day.
That night, however, as she tucked us in bed, she would give us a rousing lecture about Jehovah (god), how Easter-was-really-the-pagan-Roman-celebration-of-Saturnalius, and how we risked god’s (not to mention my mother’s), wrath should we eat or even lick a morsel of the pagan celebratory candies. We would sneak peeks around her to look at the pile of goodies while she set us up for nightmares.
As an aside, I had a lot of horrific nightmares as a child. I believe they were born of the fear that the JWs pounded into their adherents. Here’s some pictures from the orange colored JW’s “children’s” book of my youth, From Paradise Lost, To Paradise Regained. (Pic source and source) Hence the nightmares.
But I digress. So we children could only stare at (and long for) the candy until my dad was out of the house at which time my mother would throw it in the garbage.
While as an adult I never identified with any religion, when she was about 10 my daughter asked if she could have an Easter basket. (I guess she heard about them on TV.) So I looked into it. (pic source) I decided – as any good parent would, I thought – that a basket of candy for a child was, well, just silly and bad for the teeth! So I created a basket filled with pretty little soaps in shapes of various animals, a couple of hand knit cotton wash cloths (to match the soaps), a back scrubber, and bath salts. Last time I did that; she cried for the rest of the day. 😦
My daughter is grown and has her own family. I still never know what to do when Easter rolls around. Thankfully, See’s Candies makes it easy. 🙂 (pic source)