Easter is one of my favorite holidays. And having grown up in a Methodist family — and attending Catholic schools intermittently as a kid — it's one I've celebrated every year of my life (in both conventional and, er, less conventional ways). So if you're prepping to spend your first-ever Easter with your boyfriend's family or girlfriend's family and wondering what to expect, allow me to break it down for you.
Well, first, let's dive into what not to do. And that includes skipping breakfast, heading to a crowded Catholic service at the famed Saint Mark's Basilica in Venice, and fainting mid-service, as I did a few years back. (Especially if you're just wearing a thong beneath your dress. My apologies to the very conservative, Italian congregation I inadvertently flashed that day. Whoops-a-daisy!)
But don't worry, I'm, like, 99 percent sure that's not how your first Easter will go. But um, if it is, please DM me so we can start a support group? Great, thanks.
Now that that's covered, let's dive into all of the things you can, should, or might end up doing at your first Easter with your partner, and potentially their family, this year — from what to wear to bring and to, of course, what this holiday's all about.
Let's start with the basics. In the Christian faith, Easter marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ — an event that's essentially celebrated from Ash Wednesday in February or early March through Easter Sunday (which generally falls in late March or early April — it's always the first Sunday to follow the full moon after the spring equinox).
As you might know, the 40 days in between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday are known as Lent, during which time many Christians (Catholic families, in particular) will give up a vice of sorts. So if you watch your partner and/or their entire family go ham on some chocolate bunnies that Sunday, it's probably because they gave up sweets for Lent. (Which I did a few years ago. Big mistake. Huge.)
Many Christian families will attend a couple of church services over the course of Easter weekend. The first is on Good Friday, which commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and the second is on Easter Sunday, obvs. Other services might include a church service on Holy Thursday (in remembrance of The Last Supper) or an Easter vigil service on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter Sunday).
If your partner's Catholic and you choose to attend a Catholic service with them, remember not to take a little communion wafer when you step up to the minister handing them out, as only those who have celebrated their first communion are permitted to take one. Instead, cross your hands over your chest when you step up, and the minister will provide you with a blessing instead. Most other branches of Christianity are fine with you taking communion, though, if you feel comfortable doing so.
Now that we've covered the religious and ritualistic side of things, let's dive into the fun stuff (I mean, not that communion wafers aren't fun, but...): Outfits! Deviled eggs! Baskets filled with chocolate!
In terms of what to wear, my suggestion is a pastel-colored dress that covers your shoulders, just to be safe. Any one of these adorable floral dresses from Modcloth should do the trick, too. If your partner's parents are especially conservative, maybe opt for a pair of blush pink slacks, instead. Obviously, to get the best idea of how to dress, ask your SO what the usual dress code is for their family. If your partner's Baptist, there's also a chance that you'll get to embrace your inner Kate Middleton and sport a fancy Easter hat (the dream!).
Last but not least, expect some arts and crafts. (Pro-tip: Def don't wear a white t-shirt if your partner's family is into dyeing Easter eggs!) At an Easter celebration, there may be tons of deviled eggs and chocolate bunnies, and hopefully an Easter egg hunt, if your SO's got younger siblings. If not, I say you stage one in their home or apartment — I mean, it's like lost and found, but with plastic balls of candy and trinkets. What's not to love?
The general schedule of events in my home growing up was a church service on Good Friday, egg-dyeing and some meal-prepping on Saturday, and then a second church service and a dinner on Easter Sunday. But that differs from family to family, so don't hold me to it! Ask your partner what to expect when it comes to their own family's festivities.
Oh, and if you'll be heading to your partner's parents' house and want to bring along a gift, I would recommend a bouquet of spring flowers and offer to bring a pre-made dessert or side dish for dinner. (Anything from apple pie to mashed potatoes will work.) I should also note that it's traditional to serve ham or lamb at Easter dinner, so if you don't consume pork or meat, be sure to give the person making the meal a head's up. And maybe bring along an alternative dish so they don't feel pressured to whip up a tofurkey for you or anything.
And there you have it! You're all set and ready for Easter with your S.O. and their fam. Peace be with you.
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