This is how we celebrate in the South.
Admittedly, there are quite a few aspects of Southern life that I’ve been slow to embrace as a born and bred Georgian. The mosquitoes, humidity, and slow pace immediately come to mind. Beyond those few things, however, there really is no place like the South, which is why when it comes to celebrating Easter and the sunlight of spring, we do things a little differently down in the Dixie. While every region has their own way of commemorating the holiday and religious observance, there are some time-honored Easter traditions that are unique to the South. Here are six of the most common, and you can bet deviled eggs, seersucker, itchy frocks, and ham made the list.
We break out our Sunday’s best for Sunrise church service.
Growing up, it was a big deal to go shopping for an Easter Sunday outfit. If memory serves me correctly, the rules were very strict. Like most young girls, I wore lace and ruffles every Easter, and by the end of church service, I’d already have tons of scratches on my arms and legs from those God-awful itchy and puffy dresses. But you know, what mama wants, mama gets. Boys, however, can play it more cool in breathable seersucker and dapper bow ties. Suffice it to say, Easter is a special and stylish occasion for kids and adults to play dress up in the finest spring duds.
Related: Do You Speak Southern Mama?
We take dyeing and hiding Easter eggs very seriously.
After church, there's usually the highly-anticipated Easter egg hunt before the big family dinner. If you've ever seen the film Steel Magnolias, then you know what a true Southern egg hunt should look like. There are two rules we typical abide by when it comes to the egg portion of the celebration. First, according to religious lore, always dye the eggs on Good Friday (and because you probably won't have time on Easter Sunday). You can use a simple grocery store kit or get creative with some of our easy DIY decorating ideas. Second, hide only the candy-filled plastic eggs on Easter Sunday, preferably at grandma's house. That's all it takes to plan an Easter egg hunt that's bunny- and Ouiser-approved.
We’re never too old for Easter baskets.
Who says adults can't wake up to a basket full of goodies on Easter Sunday? And no, we're not talking marshmallow peeps, jelly beans, and Cadbury Crème Eggs. More and more baskets, including these garden varieties, are being crafted and carefully curated to suit the taste of the more young-at-heart Southern moms.
We decorate the house with Easter trees.
Decorative trees aren’t just reserved for Christmas in the South, as we often bring tradition indoors with an Easter tree centerpiece. Made with edible or adorned eggs hanging from branches, these trees bring a festive focal point to our homes. Follow this step-by-step tutorial to create your very own candy Easter tree.
We eat very specific foods, and a lot of it.
Holidays give us the perfect excuse for eating, entertaining, and feeding a crowd—the three things we love most here in the South (besides porch sitting). While hot cross buns are typically served on Good Friday, we reserve the good stuff for the feast on Sunday, which usually includes glazed ham, potato salad, and sugar-laden sweet tea or lemonade. Mama will be expected to bring the ambrosia and pineapple upside-down cake to rival grandma's famous coconut cake. And every true Southerner knows it's not a real Easter dinner unless there's a relish tray being passed around full of delicious deviled eggs.
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We wouldn’t be caught dead in white shoes before Easter.
You don't mess with tradition in the South, which means not wearing white shoes before Easter. Generally, we bust out the white soles around Memorial Day. So if you have an Easter ensemble that would look great with white shoes, it's best to opt for ivory or a neutral pair. Although, the jury is still out on what to do about white heels post-Labor Day.