As a child this was certainly true; with two very devout grandmothers, one Church of England, the other Catholic, and both with very strong beliefs. We spent most Easter's with the latter; being Dad's mother. With four houses on the farm, there could be up to forty or more people staying over the weekend.
Good Friday was sombre, with no warm blooded animal products being consumed, although as children we were allowed milk. I can recall eating lots of fresh river caught fish, be it trout, perch or bream. Also having sardines on toast for breakfast, no butter of course. The evening would be spent at Nana's 4-room house playing Euchre until late, drinking several cups of tea and much laughter.
Saturday brought the annual Wee Jasper Rodeo where local and visiting men tested their bull, calf and buck-jumping skills, while the women competed in gymkhana events. Foot races, egg and spoon, sack races etc for the kids. The evening was dress up time for the big dance, held in the local hall. A band would play music well into the night, and in the early days my father would play the button accordion. The men gathered around a beer keg outside while the women and children danced inside, before the delicious supper of home-made cakes and sandwiches. Lots of distant cousins would arrive in the district for the Saturday events, most staying at my Aunt's house.
Easter was not about the Easter bunny or chocolate, it was about Mum's delicious hot cross buns, which we had to wait until Sunday to eat. I also remember Nana's mood changed this day, she smiled and laughed more. Sometimes on Sunday we would go for a family picnic along the Micalong Creek or to visit the caves. Easter Monday we travelled home for Dad to return to work.
Later in Easter week when the boss and his wife returned from the Royal Easter Show in Sydney we would get eggs. These were generally the hard, highly decorated, icing eggs, filled with Smarties or Minties, packaged in pretty boxes. These eggs would be made to last for as long as possible.
As a married adult, Easter was intermingled with the annual winter wood collection for up to five households, and two local gymkhanas. My then husband and our three children all competed on horseback for both of these, while I helped in the kitchen serving lunches. And yes, my children got eggs on Sunday, and of course, hot cross buns, however these were never as good as Mum's.
Following divorce, Easter Saturday became an annual pilgrimage to the Australian Champion Tractor Pull at Quambatook. At first I believed it would be very dull and uninteresting. How wrong I was! I became well and truly hooked on tractor pulling. My partner Ben and I would leave Mathoura at 6.30 am, travelling to Kerang for breakfast. On to Quamby in time for a short nap before gates open at 10 am. A quick rush to 'claim the spot' on the hill with all day shade, watch track preparation until 1 pm, when the action started. Vintage and farm tractors tried their sled pulling skills, followed by mini and super modifieds with huge engines, lots of noise, plenty of black smoke, and roars from the crowd when a 'full-pull' happened. We made many friends over the years among the tractor pullers. Sadly Quamby tractor pulls finished for me when Ben passed away.
Easter is still about tractors, but these now move more slowly and quietly. My partner Geoff organises a busy weekend for us. On Good Friday, lots of Fergie club members arrive for the weekend at Molyullah sports ground. Saturday is a frantic last minute organisation for the Fergie feast, held on Sunday night after the big tractor trek. Making salads, rissoles, soups, finding crockery and cutlery, trying to ensure there's enough food for everyone. Last year we had 35 members for our Sunday trek and feast. Easter Monday the annual local sports day is held, with the Fergie Club holding a big static display among the attractions. It is also a great day to catch up with family and friends from near and far. This is followed by farewelling our Fergie Family and the community dinner to round off the weekend.
Easter has changed for me over the years, and each phase holds very special memories. However, it has always been about enjoying time with family and friends.