Southern Easter Traditions
Easter is a special time in the South. For generations every good and respectable family in the Bible Belt belonged to one of the town’s many church congregations. UMC, FBC, A&E, or Presbyterian – it wasn’t just a church. It was and is a community centered social gathering place. Easter being the most holy time in the church, Easter is also a time for Southerners to entertain, socialize, and carry on with traditions.
- New church clothes are a given. Girls get new dresses. Always. And sometimes a sweet hat, too. Boys get new suits. In the South we love seersucker and bow ties. That’s as southern as it comes.
- Egg dying is done every year. Now there are kits to glitter and glitz your eggs or wrap them in camouflage shrink wrap. But egg dying used to be an art form that took hours, even days to complete.
- Easter baskets that the Easter Bunny hides are essential for the kids. A chocolate bunny, jelly beans, and a sweet stuffed rabbit are most likely to be found in one of these.
- Egg hunts are an opportunity to socialize, show off your Easter finest, and take priceless pictures. If you’ve seen the movie Steel Magnolias, you have seen what a true southern egg hunt is like.
- Easter dinner. In the south we feed you. We’ll feed you at every opportunity. We love you with food. Easter dinner is a tradition all in its own. For more details on that check out my post here.
- The highlight of Easter is our time spent at church. Families bring flowers from their gardens to add to the cross at church. Sunrise services are popular all around the South.
I hope that you will feed your family with tradition. Feed their memories and “remember whens.” But also important, I hope that you will feed them with the meaning behind the traditions and why it is important to keep our traditions and culture alive.
Hoppy Easter to you!
P.S. Here is one of my favorite things to bring as a hostess gift! If you’re celebrating Easter at someone else’s home, don’t forget to bring them a little something.
The Southern Easter Menu
I love Springtime. If I could only find a sunny spot to sit in and let the warmth sink into my bones, I would. But this season of gray simply will not go away. Groundhog stew, anyone?
Here it is time for Easter, and all of the Easter dresses are sleeveless, the sandals are open-toed, and the suits are made of thin cotton seersucker. Oh, where are you warm rays of sunshine?
I wanted to share the traditional Southern Easter menu with you. Homes across the Deep South, as well as homes that long to be in the Deep South will spread these tried and true dishes on their family dining table to celebrate the Resurrection.
Ham – The star of the show, try this wonderful Brown Sugar – Bourbon Glazed Ham from Southern Living.
Southern Potato Salad – You simply must have this recipe in your back pocket for everything from Easter dinner to family barbeques. What makes it “southern?” Check out the recipe from Add A Pinch.
Deviled Eggs – The perfect solution for what to do with all those dyed Easter eggs! The folks at Mr. Food have an egg-cellent recipe. There are so many ways to prepare deviled eggs. In addition to this traditional recipe, this year I’ll also be making some with hummus and some with guacamole.
Ambrosia – Ambrosia literally means “food of the gods.” But if you ask me, it means “South in Your Mouth.” This traditionally southern food can be found at Easter dinner, picnics, barbeques, and bridal showers. Like so many of our southern recipes, this one varies from table to table. Here is a great version at The Country Cook that is simply lovely.
Pineapple Upside-Down Cake – Don’t be fooled. The ambrosia was not considered your dessert. But a pineapple upside-down cake is! One of our family favorites and requested almost as much as banana pudding, here is a recipe from Southern Living that you can pass down to generations.
Sweet Tea and Lemonade – Don’t forget to quench your thirst with these two southern staples. Return to Sundays Supper has a sweet (pun intended) recipe for lemonade that can’t be beat.
Most of these dishes can be prepared in advance. If you are attending a church service, plan ahead so that you can come home and enjoy a beautiful stress-free luncheon.
Hey Y’all, if you like this post and found it to be even the teensiest bit handy, would you please “pin” it? Please and thanks y’all.
P.S. If you are taking deviled eggs to a dinner at someone else’s house, you really must have a deviled egg plate. Those suckers are slippery and won’t be pretty when you arrive. I like this one:
The Southern New Year’s Day Menu
Now that Christmas has come and gone, the pine needles are meeting the vacuum. The trashcan is overflowing. Thoughts of last minute tax write offs are dancing through our heads. With New Year’s Day just a few days away, we are preparing for a fresh start ahead of us.
In the South, our holiday traditions continue on to New Year’s Day. On New Year’s Day we prepare a traditional meal for our families to welcome a new year of health and prosperity. What a perfect way to begin the new year together, gathered around the table enjoying good food with the people you love.
However, our southern New Year’s Day meal isn’t a random, ordinary meal. Each dish on the menu symbolizes something different that we hope the new year will bring us.
Our menu begins with collard greens.
Collard greens (or any kind of greens) represent money for the coming year. If you have never cooked collard greens, don’t be intimidated. The recipe can be as simple or complex as you like.
Next come the black eyed peas.
The lovely cream colored peas with a black “eye” spot symbolize coins. On New Year’s we mostly eat black eyed peas served warm, but I also use THIS recipe that my family really enjoys.
Along with the peas and collards we have corn bread.
Corn bread is a staple of the southern dinner table. However, on the New Year’s Day table corn bread represents gold. In the South, everybody’s momma puts a different pinch of this or that into their recipe. Mostly I use a corn bread mix from a box. (Hush your mouth! I’m a busy person.) Krusteez makes a gluten free cornbread that we like.
Last of the symbolic foods for the southern New Year’s Day menu is pork or ham.
The pork represents moving forward. A pig roots forward in the earth, unlike a cow that stands still or a chicken that scratches backwards. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter what kind of pork is served. It could be a roast, pork chops, or a baked ham. I will admit that once in a hurry I even went to the deli and got some sliced ham. Most years we have a baked ham with a maple glaze.
Update: If you’d like to check out my Southern New Year’s Menu with a Twist, click here.
Happy New Year!