Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Happy Easter from Switzerland!! (Part 1)

One of my very first memories is a birthday party with my cousins that my grandmother turned into an Easter egg hunt. I remember us all running happily through her yard, baskets in hand, discovering the precious eggs amidst her blooming tulips and daffodils. Little did she know that my Easter egg birthday party would be a prelude to countless Easter egg hunts that I too would host--for my own children, family, and countless friends. I have waited in line for hours, even in cold temperatures, when my children were younger to go to the Easter Egg Roll at the White House. I have delighted in decorating Ukrainian Easter eggs, etching a design in the egg with wax. With my Swiss friend, Annagreth, I have boiled eggs tied with onion leaves, making them a soft, warm brown, and then gluing clover leaves on them with egg whites, a traditional Swiss country way of decorating eggs.

With our recent trip to Switzerland, the inner child emerged again--enthralling me with the bright colors of the spring season. It seemed almost every store window was decorated for the holiday in every town we visited, not to be accused of being meager with the Easter spirit. It felt almost like Christmas, with all the Easter trimmings in most every store front and yard. In some cantons (like a county) in Switzerland, fountains are decorated to celebrate the emergence of spring.  http://www.guide-to-bavaria.com/en/easter-fountains-easter-wells-in-bavaria.html In Zurich every year, they even hold a bonfire, with people clanging pots and pans as they circle around it, not allowing the blustery winter season to escape from the fire.

With the arrival of spring, it is time to reflect on rebirth--the resurrection of the Savior, the explosion of color in the world, and the new people we can become. The Easter egg, also known as the paschal egg, is a symbol of an empty tomb, as well as fertility and rebirth. Every Christian country has it's own traditions, worship, and festivities, but in our recent trip to Switzerland, I was reminded that those happy moments planted long ago can be relived again and again.  Thank you, Grandma, for being the source of so many celebratory moments--not only for myself, but that I now too can give to other children. Thank you, Switzerland,  for the wondrous awe and marvel at the beautiful world we live in.
Hoping to go on an Easter egg soon....

Grandma--the giver and the gatherer of so many happy memories.
After being in the Middle East for six months, the vibrant colors of spring and the Easter decorations were enthralling and magical. We felt like we just entered the colored version of The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy meets the munchkins.  These tree branches were posted in the sidewalk, in front of a store in Zurich, with plastic paper folded on the trees. It was a simple technique, but to eyes that were starving for color, it was enchanting--like entering a wonderful new world.
A little box that was built into the wall on a storefront in Zurich (the building being hundreds of years old), charmingly decorated for the season. 

Every store had it's own version of creating Easter.



At a toy store in Lucerne....





Rabbits in every configuration were artistically shaped in all the bakeries; breads and cookies of bunnies were in festive abundance.

A store window in Bern, Switzerland, with egg cartons serving as the rabbits' chairs.



At a market in Innerlocken, Switzerland

An apothecary shop in Basal, Switerland 

A pharmacy window front in Bern

At a store in Basal that sold fine china.




Every window decorated perfectly for the holiday
Outside a boutique in Zurich




Walking around Basal with our friends one afternoon to view the Easter decorations in the windows.

Almost every home window was decorated for the Easter holiday....

Many home windows have bars in front of them, where they exchange decorations for each holiday.

Many houses, in every kind of neighborhood, had an Easter egg tree.



More decorated store windows


This was a bakery window in Lucerne
One storefront in Basal completely painted all the windows with rabbits--so very magical.

Many giant hot pink Lindt rabbits were perched on top of warehouses, gas stations, stores. Everywhere there was a reminder that spring had sprung, and Easter was coming....

Edelweiss flowers covered the hillsides and lawns in Switzerland.

Here is a great website to make some Swiss eggs with natural vegetable dyes and fresh flowers.
/http://gemperle.com/making-gemperle-farms-swiss-easter-eggs/  Have a wonderful Easter with family and friends, making memories that will fuel many happy hours for your loved ones....