J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the tag “Easter”

Guest Post by Elizabeth Shields

Always one to help a fellow writer out, I occasionally feature blog posts written by guest bloggers. This one is quite informative, and discusses interesting aspects about Easter Sunday. I hope you enjoy it.


Easter is almost upon us and throughout the world, just like Christmas, Easter these days is commonly considered a time to be spent with family or your nearest and dearest.

We often don’t give any consideration to where the traditions, that have been carried along from generation to generation, originated from – we just go along with them, not knowing how or where they began…


Easter traditionally commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is thought to have taken place around 33 AD and Easter festivals and feasts are believed to have begun during the 2nd Century.

During Medieval times, Easter was a prominent celebration where feasting, combined with music, dance and the consumption of alcohol would take place. These feasts could sometimes go on for days, similar to a Christmas celebration!

Many Easter traditions have been around for centuries but have evolved over time. It was only during the 19th century that Easter really became considered to be a time to spend with family…

Easter Sunday, for many Christians, begins with a sunrise service at church. It is believed that it was dawn when the tomb of Jesus was discovered to be empty and this is why the service is held at sunrise. It is thought to have been started in the 1700’s by the Moravians.


One of the main symbols of Easter is the Easter bunny, which is thought to have originated from the Pagans and then been brought over to America by German immigrants in the 1700’s, whilst the tradition of decorating eggs is thought to date back as far as the 13th century. The Easter parade tradition is thought to date back even further than this!

Following on with the egg theme, the Easter egg hunt is another tradition which is believed to have originated from Pagan festivals that celebrated fertility. Easter egg hunts (typically aimed at children, although I have to say, I rather still enjoy them myself!) involve eggs being hidden by the Easter bunny. Typically chocolate eggs are hidden, but they can also be eggs filled with candies and even hard-boiled eggs can be used (although I’m not sure if children would love the hunt as much with hard-boiled eggs being used!). The children go hunting for the eggs which they then put into their Easter egg basket and devour later! Kids tend to make a bit of a mess during all of the fun so keeping the house clean will be difficult to say the least! Eggs are also part of the tradition because they were banned during the period of lent in Medieval Europe which resulted in them often being eaten over the Easter period when the fasting had ended.

Hot Cross Buns

The tradition of consuming hot cross buns over the Easter period is thought to have begun with a monk during the 12th century, who decided to add the cross shape to the top of them in celebration of Good Friday.

Chocolate eggs – probably one of the most typical symbols of Easter these days – originated in France and Germany in the 19th century and then became popular throughout the rest of Europe and then the United States, where today, consuming copious amounts of chocolate seems to be the main family activity at Easter time… At least in my household! 

Happy Easter!


Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays, not only because I’m a Christian, but because, to me, it signifies that Spring is finally here. My old church used to obtain butterfly chrysalises for the Sunday school classes, and on Easter, they set all the new butterflies free. I loved the analogy between birth and rebirth, and how it signified the risen Christ. We have had our share of baby bunnies, baby chicks, chocolate eggs and Easter egg hunts, but to me, butterflies being set free is the most special memory.

Here is an excerpt from my novel, A Beckoning Hellfire, which describes how two young men who are new soldiers experience Easter Sunday, 1863. Enjoy, and have a happy Easter!


They listened to an owl hoot somewhere off in the distance. As moonbeams shone down on the two young soldiers, they fell asleep. Early the next morning, they woke up and sauntered over to the depot, which remained dark.

“Where is everybody?” Jake asked. Looking around, he scratched his head. No one was in sight.

“Let’s go over to the livery and find out,” David suggested. They walked a few blocks and entered the building.

Upon being asked, the stable owner laughed. “You boys don’t know what day this is?” They responded by shaking their heads. “It’s Easter! No trains are runnin’ today.” He looked at one, then the other. They looked at each other, and then back at him. “Do y’all have anywhere else to go?” The troopers shook their heads again. “Well, feel free to bed down in here if y’all want, but I reckon it’ll be a long day, since nothin’s open.” He quickly walked out of the barn toward a little house across the yard.

“I knew today was Easter. I jist forgot is all,” Jake said.

“Me, too,” David said. “I’m hungry.” He surprised himself with the comment, for he usually didn’t feel empty until midmorning.

Jake looked at him. “Well, there are some oats. That’s all we’re likely to find, since everything’s closed up.”

They sat on a bale of hay, pondering their situation, but came to no resolution, so they decided to take a walk around. It was a futile effort, however, because they only saw a few people on the street, who disappeared into doorways once they approached. With no other recourse, they decided to return to the livery.

Suddenly, David stopped. “I know!” he exclaimed.

Jake followed his gaze across the street to a small white chapel that stood like a beacon, its tall ivory steeple pointing up to the heavens.

“Let’s go inside,” he said, walking so quickly that Jake had to sprint to catch up.

They entered the little church. Some members of the congregation turned to see who the late arrivals were. Removing their hats, the boys slid into a back pew.

The pastor was telling the story of Jesus’ resurrection, the same story they all told on Easter, but this time it seemed more poignant. David equated it to the plight of the grand old Southland for which they were fighting, and for which his father gave his life. The Southerners had been persecuted and exiled, but now they would gain the freedom to rejoice in the reincarnation of their own country, even though some would die for the sins of others.

A pianist cued the congregation, so they stood to sing “Rock of Ages.” After the hymn ended, the pastor dismissed everyone with a “Happy Easter.” He walked from the pulpit to the front doors, and greeted each person as they exited. David and Jake waited, smiling politely while the older people, women, and children filed out, and then they took their turn greeting the pastor.

“What do we have here?” the Godly man asked. He wore a fine, graying beard and a long black robe. “I’m so glad y’all could come to our service. Happy Easter!”

“Happy Easter,” the boys responded.

“Sir, we’re only here for today,” said Jake. “Our train’s been delayed due to the holiday, and we were wonderin’…”

The pastor interrupted. “Are y’all in need of lodgin’?” he asked, his dark blue eyes filling with concern.

“No,” Jake said. “We were wonderin’ if you might know where we could gitsomethin’ to eat. We didn’t bring enough money, and we forgot about allowin’ ourselves an extra day’s worth of vittles.”

“Of course.” The pastor smiled. “Jist give me a minute.” He went to the back of the church, but soon reappeared, dressed in a dark suit. He closed the front door. “Come with me,” he said.

They followed him down the street to a little white house surrounded by a whitewashed picket fence, and went inside. The smell of baked ham encouraged them. They looked at each other and grinned.

“Wait here, boys,” the pastor said kindly.

He walked into another room. David and Jake could hear him talking to someone. Pots clanked and plates chinked. Moments later, the pastor emerged with two heaping plates of food.

“Come on in here,” he said.

The soldiers followed him to a small wooden table.

“We shall praise the Lord for this blessed day,” the holy man said happily. He set their plates on the table and delved into prayer.

David’s stomach growled, but he did his best to contain his hunger.

Finally, the pastor finished and told them to eat. “I don’t mean to be rude, but my wife and I won’t be jinin’ y’all. We’ve been invited to her cousin’s house, and we’re fixin’ to bring the food along with us,” he explained.

Gesturing for them to take a seat, he walked out of the room, leaving David and Jake alone to consume their dinner of ham, sweet potatoes, creamed corn, and okra. Once they finished, the kind pastor returned, giving them each some morsels to save for supper. They thanked him, bid him a happy Easter, and returned to the livery, where they promptly fell asleep. When they awoke, the barn was dark. Rain clattered down on the tin roof. Jake arose, went outside, and returned a few minutes later.

“I instructed the livery man to wake us at five-thirty,” he said, shaking moisture from his hat. He looked down at the grease-stained, brown paper-wrapped package the pastor had given him. “I’m savin’ mine for tomorrow.”

“Me, too,” said David. He rolled over and soon fell back to sleep.

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