A very Irish Easter: Good Friday Sobriety and Post-Lent Savagery

The lambs are frolicking in the green fields, your mam’s garden is blooming and there's a grand stretch in the evenings. It’s finally Easter in Ireland, so to celebrate, we’ve jotted down a few Easter memories that only those who grew up in Ireland can relate to. Here we go…

Egg-cited for School?

Does anyone remember getting eggs at school? Not the chocolate kind – the hen-laying kind. This Irish Easter tradition has now been lost, but there was a time when every child in every classroom in the country would bring a raw egg to school on the run-up to the Easter holidays. These eggs, if they made it to school in one piece, would be handed to the teacher and stored in a safe place until it was time to eat them. They’d then be hard-boiled by the teacher and distributed throughout the class at lunchtime. An odd yet quaint Irish Easter tradition that we are sad to see the back of.

Good Friday - An Irish tale about the Friday before Easter

From the beginning of time up until a few years ago, the law decreed that all Irish pubs close on Good Friday in solidarity with Jesus who died on the cross. It then became apparent that Irish people could not actually go a day without heading to their local for one or two. After much public protest, the Irish government lifted the ban and publicans opened their doors on Good Friday for the first time. The people rejoiced and we can now have a sesh on the Friday before Easter. Of course, this law being lifted had more to do with the country’s movement towards separating church and state than the people’s inability to drink at home one day a year instead of heading to the pub. However, we wonder if there would have been as many protests about a single sober day in any other country in the world.

Easter Egg Hunt

This was the moment every kid in the country had been waiting for – and the moment every parent dreaded. Your dad was up. It was his time to shine and he only had a few minutes to make his contribution to the Easter festivities. Easter Sunday was often a washout so any egg hiding had to be done as close to the hunt as possible to avoid the chocolate turning to mush. Your da would do his best to hide them in various places around the garden with some hidden in plain sight for the little ones to find. He’d be pure delighted with himself when the kids were finally released, shouting with joy and giddy with excitement… This happy moment would last about 5 minutes before the sugar rushes began and everyone started bickering over who saw what egg first.

Post-Lent Savagery

The volume of sweets you accumulated over the Lenten season was directly linked with how seriously you took Lent. If your devotion to abstaining from Dairy Milk and Starbursts was less than enthusiastic, you’d only have a few bits left to tuck into over the Easter Break. However, if you managed to keep your promise, you’d end up with a stash of every sweet you’d been offered since Ash Wednesday to pig out on over the holidays. You’ve probably witnessed or at least heard stories of kids being physically sick after going to town on their lent stash on the days that followed Easter Sunday. Between the eggs and the Lent stash, Easter was wilder than Halloween in many houses around Ireland.

The Passion

Much like the Nativity, the Passion of Christ was another religious spectacle we were all required to attend or participate in. By nature, The Passion was slightly more gruesome than the Nativity, it being the trial and graphic execution of Jesus. Some kids loved it – the drama, the horror, the weeping. Others were terrified. Regardless of how you felt, the Passion was another social event in the parish calendar that brought everyone together to catch up and gossip about everything that had happened since Christmas – and that is why your mammy made you go.

Are we missing any? Let us know your family’s Irish Easter traditions on Instagram so we can all have a bit of craic this bank holiday weekend!