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By Pat Gracey
contributing writer 

Eastertime then and now

The Spirit of Tehachapi


March 27, 2021

Pat Gracey.

The religious celebration of Easter is eternal and the reason for the commemoration of the day –the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ, from the dead –never changes. The traditions, however, do change from age to age and in different cultures. Apart from the traditional worship services of this holy day, communities, such as ours, are seen observing local customs that tie into Easter, as well.

Not too many years back, it was a tradition on Good Friday for businesses to close from noon until 3 p.m. to commemorate the hours Jesus remained hanging on the cross. A very nice gesture. Some businesses still adhere to that custom so people will be free to attend Good Friday services in their church.

There is also the annual Palm Sunday Procession leading to the church and is the beginning of Holy Week commemorating Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Usually, palm fronds are carried as well. I might add, in Tehachapi, this occurs unless it's snowing during one of Tehachapi's sometime frigid Easter seasons. Then a short procession in the church proper takes place.

One would even wonder why the custom of hiding eggs for children to find began. Now, I looked this up to make sure. The egg is a symbol of new life and a new birth, paralleling Jesus' life and death and resurrection. I like that. It gives hiding Easter eggs a whole new meaning, not just for ourselves but something to tell the children to give the egg hiding a whole new meaning. Even an empty egg can remind us of the "empty tomb." Tehachapi has always put great emphasis on the Easter egg hunts. How about that? Pretty good!

Isabel Corral recalls the City of Tehachapi's Easter egg hunt in our city park. She remembers that some of the eggs were plastic and had a message inside indicating that the finder could show up at a local business and claim a prize. Gee, that would have been fun at any age. Isabel also remembers an ice cream social at church after Easter Sunday Mass. That would have been great unless it was a snowy day but ice cream is always good.

Del Troy recalls taking her grandchildren to West Park where Parks and Recreation sponsored special egg hunts with sections for age groups where the very young children could learn the ropes of egg hunting while the more experienced hunters would be in another section.

Debbie Troy Massie mentioned to me that the once elegant Golden Hills Country Club used to devote the back nine of their 18-hole golf course to a giant Easter egg hunt.

Talking to Debbie Papac at the Whiting Center we find that the children of Bear Valley Springs also spend time before Easter in the center where Debbie finds meaningful arts and crafts to inspire the youths involved as they make their own chocolate eggs, cookies and afterward take part in a traditional egg hunt.

Judy Reynolds speaks of a sumptuous Easter Brunch and an art show put on by the Bear Valley Springs Cultural Arts Association.

A very traditional Easter service for many of our multiple churches would be a Sunrise Service as the sun rising on the new day of the Resurrection comes to life.

Speaking to an old friend and former long time librarian for Tehachapi, I asked Joyce Stowers, "What kind of Easter remembrance was held at the library?" She informed me that nothing could be held because of County rules. Tsk Tsk.

Joyce says that her personal recollection of each Easter is watching people on their way to church covering their Easter clothes with winter coats and snow boots. Not to be bitter though for sometimes, when Mother Nature is in a good mood, we see the daffodils and crocus blossoms and rose bushes budding. Silly little birds singing their hearts out. All seems right with the world.

One of my sons reminded me how nice it was to gather with the families and observe the Holy Day with seldom seen cousins and the grandparents.

No matter what we do during the religious day, it still goes on each year. No one tries to combine it with another holiday or delete it completely. It's still Easter and will continue until the "Last Day" when God gets our attention and says, "Time's Up" or the equivalent thereof. That'll be the day!


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