Easter Dinner Traditions

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Kimberly Ripley

Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from New Hampshire. She loves her time with her husband, five children and two grandchildren, but lives for her escape each winter to sunny Fort Myers, Florida where she searches for seashells--and writes.

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Easter dinner traditions have certainly varied throughout the generations, but it is believed that two dinner staples have remained the same. Traditional Easter Sunday meals often include either roast lamb or ham, and both staples are believed to date back many generations.

Roast lamb actually precedes the first Easter. In fact, it goes back to the first Passover of the Jews. A sacrificial lamb was roasted and eaten by the family, along with unleavened bread and bitters. The blood of that lamb was smeared on the outside of the home in hopes that the angel of God would “pass over” the home and not bring harm upon those inside. Traditions merged as many Jews became Christians and the roast lamb was carried on by many of them as part of their resurrection day celebrations.

Easter Dinner Traditions

Ham has long been an Easter dinner staple in the United States. It is expected that this is a tradition that originated here as well. Stemming back from when there was no refrigeration, the fresh pork was cured over the winter and was ready for consumption around Easter time each spring.

These days Easter dinner is more about the religious celebration and the gathering of family and friends than it is about eating any one specific dish. Some families prepare and eat a roast beef or even a turkey on Easter, much the same as they do for other holiday dinners. Some families forgo the meal entirely, opting instead for brunch when everyone returns home from church instead.

Easter traditions involving bunnies and Easter eggs aren’t true Easter traditions, but are more representative of the celebration of spring instead. They have long played a role in the holiday for children. Some churches have even incorporated them into their Easter studies, teaching children that God shows signs of spring with the birth of baby bunnies.

How do you celebrate Easter dinner in your home?