After having an interview with 14 people over Easter weekend, here it is. A week later, hours of listening to recordings and writing transcript from each person again. Only thing I can say at the end of it is that I enjoyed every second of it. I'm someone who likes to be around people. One of the things I enjoy the most on weddings is to have a chat with guests probably because there's always some story that will teach something my curious mind.
I got an idea about creating this virtual photo project after talking with my colleague, who also a great photographer. She's doing a pandemic photo project.
Check her story here
I couldn't stop thinking about how I can help in these uncertain times. I didn't want to be a copycat, but at the same time, I wanted to create something meaningful for myself. Then I had a conversation with myself. What I want to create, what is crucial for me?
Then, words start flowing into my head. Easter is essential for you too. Why? Because you would be at home, spending time with your family. No matter how many problems your family might have. Easter and Christmas are always holidays where would be peace in the house—after feeling nostalgic, overwhelmed by situation and isolation—knowing I can't go home this Easter. I said to myself - I'm going to create an Easter photo project where I would talk about tradition and how they are celebrating Easter. No matter if you are religious or not. It doesn't matter. I'm going to make people put the focus on something they celebrate every year. I'm going to make a photo story from all these sweet memories where we would laugh remembering something we forget entirely.
And I succeeded! I'm sharing a complete story from 14 different people. Some of the traditions were same, but their way of celebrating is entirely different. Thanks to all the people for sending your kind messages. I'm happy to hear you enjoyed the stories. Thanks to volunteers, you helped me to bring my photo spark back.
Sarah, Ireland, Germany and Austria
I guess my tradition has changed, from when I was a child, until now. When I was a child, Easter was quite a big deal. I'm half German, half Irish. I spent my childhood, in Germany and Austria. So we would kind of already in school or even at home we would take eggs. Blow out the eggs and then start painting them. My mother would always have like different branches with eggs, painted eggs on them. She would focus a lot on Easter decorations.
And as children, we used always to have Easter egg hunt. So my father would like to hide Easter eggs in the garden, and we'd go on to hunt for Easter eggs. So yeah, it was quite a big thing for us. Like I would see not big as Christmas. We wouldn't get gifts; we would guess chocolates and stuff like that. But it was still an exciting holiday. ⠀
Once we were living in Sweden, when we were teenagers, there was an Easter bunny hopping outside our window. That was fantastic. Now, these days me and my husband would take an opportunity to travel more for Easter. But if we are with family, we take a bit of both culture. My husband is Italian, so what we are trying is to make the whole Easter weekend and try to bring every food tradition to the table. Today we had a bit of pizza. Tomorrow we'll have lamb and maybe Monday we'll have some pasta or something like that. ⠀
I'm very grateful for having such a beautiful home for having enough space. We both have our areas, but we also have space together. And yeah, to be able to go and enjoy fresh air every day and also having my cats.
Vesna, Scotland and Croatia
My favourite thing about Easter would be going for a coffee after mass on Sunday morning. If it's sunny on Easter, you know that the terrace season is open. So that means we can sit outside and enjoy the sun for hours. From childhood, one of the Easter memories I have is to paint eggs wrapped with decorative stickers. Nowadays, we are doing this more naturally, painting traditionally in onion shell, or in a more modern way with turmeric. For the food, we keep the tradition of having boiled eggs and spring onions; not to mention egg tapping, which comes after we have coffee outside. Lunch is all about lamb, of course. We still trying to keep all the elements of our family tradition a little bit..
We have to teach team all of the values that we learned as kids. Last year when I moved to Scotland, it was a bit of culture shock for me. After living in the same tradition for so long, of course, you don't think much about others', as all the people around you have the same experience. When I came here, I was impressed by their tradition. So last year I organised Croatian Easter, as I know it, for my friends in Scotland. They were impressed. No chocolate eggs, just painted. We didn't have an egg hunt, and we had egg tapping. But they liked it! It was just something different for everyone. I was planning to do the same this year, and invite them for breakfast. But because of the situation, I'll make something for myself.
Since I moved out from my home place to Zagreb, I lost the habit of celebrating Easter with family. I only kept part of the Easter tradition in form of one specific sauce – horseradish sauce which my mother used to make. Typical spring vegetables such as scallion, horseradish and tomatoes are symbols of the
Easter if you ask me, and together with my mother’s horseradish sauce they are indispensable part of my Easter breakfast. During this whole new situation, my life didn’t change much. What I like about it is that supermarket crowds were significantly reduced, but what I don’t like is forbidden traffic. Only a fact of not allowing me to do something and that I don’t have ability to move freely between cities, makes me feel very uncomfortable.
I miss students and job which is now transferred to some virtual world. The virtual world degrades teaching because classes are meant to be held in interaction – dialogue – what simply means that discussion and exchange of opinions along with accompanying emotions that arouse philosophical topics in the virtual world is minimized. I will more appreciate my everyday life in the future.
Life in which I do my job without interruption, in which I talk to people whether I know them or not. After all these restrictions, I hope I’ll be more tolerant and attentive person with constant awareness that we’re all here just temporary and that we need to make our lives bearable for ourselves.
Memento mori, man.
Josipa and Bozo, Croatia
We don't have this sense of lockdown much, as we are still going to work every day. So our routine hasn't changed much since all of this started.
Our Easter morning starts with eating Easter cake and eggs. Bozo's parents have spring onions as well; my family doesn't. You have to eat that first, as it is part of blessing from mass. After that, you start with cheese, prosciutto and French salad. When we were kids, we would have our own version of an egg hunt. One year, my cousin made an egg with wax for egg tapping. She dripped hot wax onto the egg, which created a strong shell. She beat us all, and we were jealous of her. The next year, wax eggs became a trend. Considering the situation, we are planning to do the same every year.
Valentina, Italy and Ireland
I start on Good Friday. I usually fast, so I don't eat during the day. I do this once a year. I started more or less 13 years ago for an excellent reason. I don't go to Mass, and even though I was raised by catholic, I don't really go to Mass however I do believe. Once I read in a book this beautiful phrase, about giving God not only sacrifices but giving Him or Her a victory. And I thought, oh, my God, this is brilliant. My victory once a year is to give him a day of fasting. As well as starting from Friday we begin preparation of the savoury cake. It's made out of Pecorino cheese. I start up at three o'clock in the afternoon, which is the time where Jesus died. My aunt, for example, puts the dough in the oven at 3pm, I start with preparation at 3pm. It's essential when you begin making dough it needs to rise 3 times like the number of time Jesus has fallen. It is so linked to my childhood and to my life, and I always prepared it. You can't eat it until Easter Sunday. So basically on Saturday, it cools down completely. This cake that I prepared, it's eaten for breakfast. So breakfast is made of cake, Salame and boiled eggs. And then the other is that a bit of competition between my dad and me to see who has a higher cake. Since we have such a big breakfast, lunch is not such a focused thing.
Easter Monday traditionally starts the time where you can go away for weekends. So traditionally the first time you go out of town is Easter Monday. But there is this running joke that says that every time on Easter Monday it rains. I actually ruin your plans. And apparently, this year that everyone is home on Easter Monday is going to be a sunny day.
My Easter tradition is all about family. We are at home, preparing everything together and celebrating Easter. We love Easter decorations - little baskets filled with painted eggs, putting the small egg decorations on branches. That's what I love about Easter.
On Saturday evening we have a bonfire. I can't remember when was the last time I've seen a bonfire. I remember as a child, this would be the first Saturday since the start of the year when our parents allowed us to stay outside until 11 pm. We would watch the bonfire and play on the street with all the kids.
In our tradition, Easter can officially start and welcome spring into our home. Generally, on Sunday morning we would go to mass, and afterwards have breakfast with boiled eggs, salad, ham and spring onions. We would have an egg-tapping competition as well. One person holds a hard-boiled egg, and taps another participant's egg intending to break theirs, without breaking one's own egg. As with any other game, it has been a subject of cheating; even wooden eggs with marble cores have been reported! For lunch, we have roasted lamb with potatoes. Breakfast is more important in our family.
This is the first year that I won't be home with my mum, but I'll do my best this year to at least colour the eggs.
Marijan and Mirela, Ireland and Croatia
Mirela and Marijan went home to Croatia a day before the complete lockdown. After self-isolating for two weeks in a separate apartment, they are currently living with Mirela's parents, sister and grandma in Trogir, Croatia. As Mirela's home is not far from the beach, we had a video call from there. I couldn't get enough of the clear blue Adriatic sea.
My grandma is a great cook. We are having a great time with great food in here. Even though it's a full house, we still find our peaceful corner in the house. We first start with Easter preparation on Friday. We have fish on Friday; Saturday is about preparing Easter bread, painted boiled eggs, and meat for pašticada*. In our family, Easter is about having pašticada* for lunch - but you have to prepare the meat a day before. Of course, we have traditional breakfast. My grandma is taking care of all of that. Marijan is from Slavonia, which has a few different traditions than my family. They don't have pašticada*, as this is a Dalmatian dish. Breakfast is pretty much the same for both families; only we use a different name for our Easter bread. But this year, Marijan decided to learn how to make traditional pašticada.* Grandma will teach him. He even put the mask and gloves on, and went by himself to get meat from the butcher. We are happy to be home in these trying times, close to the sea.
Camille, Ireland and France
My family is huge. My grandparents have a country house near the beach. So since I was a kid, I would always be at my grandparent's house, and the whole family would come together. My granny and my granddad would always go out in the garden and hide chocolate eggs. They have a huge property like one acre of property, so it would take us a whole day to try and find the eggs.
My grandad passed away a couple of years back, but my granny is still doing even though she's now eighty-five. In the morning, we would go to the beach to find baby shrimps later for breakfast; we would have fresh croissants from the bakery that my grandad bought for us. But for us, having a barbecued lamb is a must for lunch.
This year due to this situation I couldn't go to France to visit my family. My husband and I are planning to keep the tradition this year. We'll hide the eggs in our garden and have some food. We did it last year as well.
Instead of sharing Camille's food, after her acceptance, I decided to share some of the family photos that Camille shared with me. Their love story left me speechless.
Lada, Germany and Croatia
Our Easter traditions are more about family traditions. Easter centers on breakfast. My mum would make a ham in bread, of course, boiled eggs, spring onions and radishes. Rather than painting our eggs, we place decorative stickers around them. Tapping eggs is still a thing after breakfast, though, as we always have to see who has the better egg.
There is a story that we would always tell while having breakfast. Our dogs are also a big part of every family tradition. Although Rea is no longer with us, Rona is part of our family now. A few years ago, Rea climbed onto a chair that was not too far from our dining table. We kept the chair in a corner of the room in case someone should visit. When my dad saw Rea sitting there, waiting for us to sit down for breakfast, he said she looked like a pisanica. Every year after that, we would tell that story. By sharing my story, I have to say that this is an Easter tradition now and one that I will remember my entire life.
Since I have moved to Germany though, things have changed every year. Two years ago we took a road trip around Bavaria for Easter and, last Easter, we travelled to northern Switzerland. This year, I decided to start my own tradition. Because I can't go home, I'll make pisanice just for myself and prepare some food to remind myself I'm not alone in the apartment. My family said they would make pisanice even though they weren't in the mood, because I'm not with them. I convinced them to continue the tradition as we had all these years.
I remember every Easter I couldn't wait for my auntie and uncle to come for a visit from Switzerland. They would bring me Lindt chocolate. That is the best chocolate ever! I remember eating chocolate until I got sick of it. Anyway, it was never enough chocolate. Every Easter, I would get excited because I knew they were coming for a visit.
It was a special feeling, because every year the house would be full. As I am getting older, some of these things have faded. I'm not a child anymore; I don't eat much chocolate anymore. Do we count chocolate cake as a new tradition now? For the past couple of years since I become an auntie, I'm spending more time painting eggs with my nephew and niece. Apart from decorating eggs, we would play together. Because this year is different from previous years, I'm not in the mood for preparing anything. I'll try to make something if I'm going to be in the mood tomorrow for my partner and I.
A few minutes later in our video call.
You know what? I'll make a cake. I don't feel like it, as I can't celebrate with my family this year, but since talking with you I've been inspired. I'll even paint some pisanice as well. Yes, I'll do that. Now I want to make French salad. I'm getting ideas.
Easter in our family is the most important holiday. I remember when I was younger, my grandma would always tell us a story about tradition, and why Easter is important. She taught us everything from going to mass, to decorations, to painting eggs. She would gather the whole family - I have 10 cousins. Easter is not complete if you don't have eggs for everyone. When we were kids, we would paint around 40-50 eggs, just to make sure that everyone had their own egg. It was a full house, so imagine not having enough eggs for the tapping challenge! That was the best part.
My cousin had a wooden egg for many years, and he would always win the game, until we realized that he'd been cheating for years. I don't have to tell you how much we had cried after he beat us all. So funny!
Of course, you grow up, you are not a kid anymore, but still until this day we do egg tapping just for fun. Grandma is no longer with us, but my mum now makes bread from her recipe. I could eat that bread all by itself; It's so good! With this particular bread, we would have for breakfast boiled eggs, ham, and spring onions. We have loads of different cakes as well, but more after lunch. That's pretty much it.
We've had a long breakfast celebration since day one with my family, and that's what my Easter is all about.
Thanks Anamarija for sending me gorgeous photos of your Easter.