There are some traditions that even a pandemic can’t shake.

By Betsy Cribb
March 30, 2020
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Betsy (right) with her younger sisters
| Credit: Courtesy of Betsy Cribb

From the time we were toddlers until I was well into my tweens, my two younger sisters and I wore matching dresses on Easter Sunday. They were always smocked, often puffy-sleeved, and typically worn with coordinating hair bows. Partly, it was because that’s just how my mama dressed us every other day of the week (my 2nd grade P.E. teacher once told me that she wouldn’t recognize me should I ever forego my bow and lacy socks). The other reason, of course, was that it made for a primo photo-op on the porch…and this was before digital cameras and Instagram.

The main difference between our capital-letter “Easter Dresses" and our other smocked frocks is that even if they’d been purchased months in advance, we were not to wear said Easter Dresses until Easter Sunday. That was the rule. For weeks, I’d stare at the pretty pink confection in my closet and wish away the days until I could finally twirl in the church courtyard in it for the first time.

This year, Easter is going to look a little different. I’ll stream a church service from my couch in Birmingham, Alabama, nearly 500 miles from my parents’ Charleston, South Carolina, home, where the rest of my family will stream the same service from their sofa. I’ve made peace with the realities of what is a discomfiting situation, especially as I gratefully acknowledge that my family is healthy and that we all have a safe place to ride out the proverbial storm.

But like many of you, I’d guess, I’m also craving a sliver of normalcy.

So I’m going to buy myself a capital-letter Easter Dress. I won’t match my sisters, and my roommate is the only person who will likely even see it. But in the name of preserving just one tradition in these topsy-turvy times, I’m going to treat myself to the tiny thrill of ordering a new dress. I’ll shop with a small Southern brand or boutique that could use the support right now. And after it lands on my doorstep, I’ll hang it in my closet, where it will stay until Easter Sunday. That’s the rule.

WATCH: Why Southern Women Buy Easter Dresses

According to North Carolina's WFMY News 2, some people have long believed that wearing new clothes on Easter brings good luck: "It's like eating collard greens and black-eyed peas at New Year's."