Break out your Sunday best.

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Break out your Sunday best.

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Like any other holiday celebrated in the South, Easter is one that’s filled with traditions. Perhaps it’s a cherished family recipe like resurrection rolls—buttery, cinnamony, flaky crescents that are meant to symbolize the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Maybe it’s gathering loved ones for a round of a customary Cajun game called pocking. Or it’s dying colorful eggs, a practice that actually stretches back to Medieval Europe.

Southern women are known for getting especially dressed up for church. But have you ever wondered about the deeper meaning of wearing a new dress on Easter Sunday?

In the South, dressing up for Easter Sunday is not only encouraged but also expected. Men dust off their seersucker suits, and women break out their springy hats. Growing up in a small, rural town, my mom’s Easter grooming started the night beforehand when she was kid. Her wet hair would be sectioned into sponge rollers before going to bed so she’d wake up with covetable curls for Sunday school. In the morning, she’d pair a brand-new pastel-colored dress with bright white shoes and bobby socks.

Wearing a new dress signifies a new beginning. The Easter holiday celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ and season of rebirth, so wearing a new dress to church is a worldly interpretation of this time of renewal in the Christian faith and a fresh start for the year ahead. It’s a tradition that my great-grandmother passed down to my grandmother, my grandmother to my mother, and now my mother to me.

WATCH: How to Make Resurrection Rolls

Some of my grandmother’s best recipes are centered on Easter Sunday, like her deviled eggs and lemon-lime congealed salad. These items pair especially well with other customary dishes such as ham biscuits and hash brown casserole. End on a sweet note with a slice of carrot cake.