It’s Thursday here in New Zealand so Easter starts tomorrow for us. I thought it would be a good chance to tell you what happens for Easter in my country. And what happens for me. I always get excited to see how many different countries readers are from, and I realise the New Zealand is only small but maybe you might be interested. Before I get started though, do you know where I am? I’m in Christchurch, as shown. Two small dots in the Pacific Ocean.
I think New Zealand is officially regarded as a Christian country (whatever that means) and Easter is recognised as a Christian celebration, but I think for most people here it is the last holidays before winter. It is also the start of a two-week break for schools so many people go away to make the most of the last of the good weather. Let’s hope for good weather anyway.
As a child in a Christian, preacher’s family the Easter break of four days would revolve around church, with a service on Good Friday and another on Easter Sunday. I know some churches also have special services at other times and this may involve some type of Easter procession of the cross. That said though, I have to admit the two things that I remember Easter for was hot cross buns on Friday and Easter eggs on Sunday.
My earliest memory of the English hot cross buns came with a nursery rhyme we used to sing:
Hot cross buns! Hot cross buns!
One ha’ penny, two ha’ penny,
Hot cross buns!
If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons
One ha’ penny, Two ha’ penny,
Hot Cross Buns!
In case you don’t know, a hot cross bun is a spicy yeast bun with sultanas (and optional peel) that have a white cross piped across the top. They are eaten hot either straight from the oven, or toasted – either way with butter. In what seems like a previous life when I liked baking I have made them but they’re much easier to buy. Keen to give them a go? Check out this recipe from one of NZ’s best-loved cooks. I’d love to hear if you give them a try.
Easter eggs seem the other priority (certainly for kids) and the supermarkets are stacked high with them. All kinds of chocolate but a lasting favourite in NZ seems to be chocolate marshmallow eggs, which were the only ones available when I was a kid. As for me now, a frozen chocolate marshmallow egg is the way to go. Anything else and it’s a bit sickly. Going back to when I was a kid though what I remember was wanting more chocolate eggs but getting more painted eggs, usually with the egg blown out of the shell rather than hard-boiled. They looked pretty, and they were fun to make but I always felt a little cheated. They weren’t chocolate.
As you can see Easter in New Zealand tends to be about holidays, maybe church activities and food. That makes it really hard for someone who struggles with family gatherings, struggles with church/religion and has not much idea of where she fits even though coming from a background entrenched in it, and having an eating disorder. Setting aside the church activities the holidays and food aspects are in pretty much every holiday celebrated in New Zealand. I hate it.
The problem with having an eating disorder, of any sort, is that you still have to deal with food on a daily basis. It’s not possible to abstain. Well, I kind of tried that for many years and that’s what landed me with the ED label. I don’t have anorexia anymore but I do still struggle with food and body image, so while everyone thinks it will be nice to give me some type of food gift, for me it’s agony. Please if you get nothing from this, hear that people with ED’s don’t want gifts of food ever. And don’t think that s/he needs to put on weight so s/he will appreciate this food gift. S/he won’t. I don’t. It simply just screws with our minds some more and us feel worse about ourselves because we can’t just simply appreciate the gift, let alone know how to deal with it. It doesn’t work like that.
So I struggle to get past the hot cross buns and easter eggs but then have to deal with the holiday aspect which generally involves family. When I started this blog I made the decision to respect my family and leave them out of what I write. I don’t want them hurt by what I say. But family occasions have always been hard for me. Maybe it’s because again, they often revolve around food or maybe because I come away feeling like a complete idiot and failure. And no, it’s not that my family do that to me, I do it all by myself. I know I’m the culprit but it is with them that it often comes out the worst. As I wrote in Dancing With Dad, Easter Sunday is the anniversary of Dad’s death, and that’s going to complicate things for me because he made the occasions manageable.
Don’t get me wrong. I have a good family who love me (most of the time) but I struggle to love me so somehow I create issues all by myself. Dad, often just by his presence, helped me get through.
So… have a safe Easter and don’t forget, I don’t want chocolate! And let me know what you do special for Easter. I’d love to hear.
- Dancing With Dad (infinitesadnessorhope.wordpress.com)
- Some thoughts on hot cross buns & Easter eggs (kathrynelliott.com.au)
- Hot Cross Bun Superstitions (douglasgreen.wordpress.com)
- What are your Easter traditions? (colesonline.com.au)