Archive for Easter

Diversify!

The Durham Region and diversification go hand in hand. Just check out our weather as of late. We’ve had Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall all show up this week.

Check out the “Feels Like” on Friday & Monday

The town of Ajax has recently embraced the Durham Region’s diverse population with its #AjaxForAll campaign featuring community members from all cultures. With that in mind, we thought it would be fun to share some Easter family traditions from the diverse Stacee-Free Team.

Judy’s Easter has always included traditions.

“I remember a story told by my father when he was a boy taking a basket of food to the church to be blessed by the priest then to be brought home for the family at Ukrainian Easter dinner. The priest told his mother that by the time he arrived almost half of the food was missing. Boys will be boys.

Growing up, we had traditional Babka (Easter bread) which was my favorite. Our mother always hid Easter eggs and over the years I continued this with my children. After a while, the fun went out of getting candied or chocolate eggs, so I decided to buy colorful plastic eggs and hide money inside. The person who collected the most money won an even bigger prize. Everyone young and old took part and had fun in the search.”

Easter brings Jo fond memories of her grandmother.
“My dad’s background is Polish and my grandma was a wonderful cook so I have lots of fond memories of Easter. All her lovely decorated wooden eggs on display that I would play with. Grandma would take palm leaves and baskets of homemade babka, kolbassa, ham and eggs to church to be blessed by the priest for us to eat. It was all very mystical and special to a young child. We also got a chocolate Easter bunny and I would promptly eat the ears. And, it was a great time to see my cousins, too.”

It’s all about family for John.

“At Easter we have always gathered the family around for a big dinner. Melanie and I like to explore what is going on in the kids’ lives and what is happening in their families and relationships. When the kids were young, we would hide candy Easter eggs around the house so the kids could have an egg hunt as soon as they got up in the morning. One year, that did not work out, however, because the dog decided to have her own egg hunt.”

Anna’s Irish roots put her faith foremost in her celebrations of Easter.

“My family’s Easter tradition growing up was attending Church for the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, then, celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday.”

Kathy embraces her husband’s French heritage.

“Generations of families connect through their traditions and our family is no exception. I always remember going to my in-laws’, to Beverly and Jerome Lapointe’s home on special occasions and enjoying the fantastic French gourmet meals we had. I especially remember when Jerome made Bouillabaisse which is a typical French soup broth with saffron and loads of fish, like scallops, mussels, halibut, lobster and clams, served with crusty bread so you could sop up the heavenly tasting broth. There were always at least 14 people at the formal dining table and there were lots of laughs and good wine flowing. We would sit there past midnight catching up on what everyone was doing in their lives. Jerome was a great influence on my style of cooking. I’m sure he’s still watching me from above as I try to replicate his recipes. Easter, or any holiday, is a time to leave your worries behind and enjoy and share traditional meals that remind us of the loving memories that keep families together.”

However you celebrate Easter, it’s a good time to look around and be aware of how diversified the Durham Region is. That in itself is a good reason to celebrate.

Is Your Easter Bonnet Ready?

Most of us woke up to snow at least once this week. It’s mid April and we are still feeling the chill in the air and witnessing the white stuff on the ground. This weekend is a long weekend. It’s Easter weekend. As well as for its religious aspects, this weekend is the one traditionally set aside to “open the cottage”. That may be a little premature this year. The weather forecasts are not calling for more snow but the temperatures will be below the norm so anything is possible.  Fear not. There are still plenty of traditions happening in the Durham Region to keep you occupied.

The Pickering Easter Parade celebrates its 10th year on Saturday, April 19th.  The Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 606 & the Ladies Auxiliary present this annual event with lots of fun for everyone. Put on your best Easter bonnet, decorate your bike, wagon or doll carriage to join in the fun and you could win a prize! The parade route runs East on Annland St. at Liverpool Rd. to Krosno Blvd. and along Krosno to Bayly St. ending at the Legion, where you can have lunch and join in more activities.

Easter Egg Hunts can be found in Newcastle and Ajax on Saturday. The hunt begins at 10 a.m. at the Port of Newcastle waterfront, at Lakebreeze Drive and Stillwell Lane. The Ajax hunt is being held at the Westney Heights Baptist Church and also starts at 10 a.m.

Port Perry hosts its fifth annual “Easter Bonnet Contest” along with its Easter Egg Hunts on Sunday at noon in front of the library. Everyone, young and old, male or female is encouraged to dig up their old hats and turn them into festive Easter bonnets of all kinds to win prizes and ribbons.

Speaking of Easter bonnets, you can wear yours to “Silver Screen Sunday” at the St. Francis Centre on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. where you’ll get to see the classic Judy Garland and Fred Astaire flick, “Easter Parade”.
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Whether your rabbit is traditionally furry or chocolate, you are guaranteed to see the “Easter Bunny” at all these events.

Easter BunnyA lot of Holiday traditions involve food, including Easter. Chocolate seems to be a given as you can find it in all kinds of shapes, sizes and colours. Some of our traditions come from “The Old Country”. With a large community of Ukrainians in the Durham Region it’s hard not to think of them at Easter, especially while watching the heartache on the news.  A favourite for a lot of Canadians Easter morning is “Hot Cross Buns” but if you are fortunate enough to have some Ukrainian relatives or friends you may be able to feast on Ukrainian Easter bread known as Paska.

Ukrainian PaskasColouring Easter eggs is another tradition we are all familiar with. The brighter the colours, the more mess the kids love to make. It is a lot of fun and a very creative activity to do with your kids. Ukrainians, however, have been crafting Pysanky, elaborately decorated eggs, for thousands of years. Each egg is a work of art.

Ukranian PysankyWhether you are  spending time this long weekend keeping up old family traditions or making new ones, enjoy your time with friends and family and be grateful for the freedoms we have to celebrate any way we want.