Vintage treasures are holiday favorites

Published Mar 20, 2013 at 10:37 am (Updated Mar 20, 2013 at 10:37 am)

This year, pastels of the Easter season have been quick to replace the dazzling reds and greens of Christmas. Holidays seem to be coming at a faster pace – or maybe I’m just getting slower.

Easter is the holiest time of year for Christians. In little more than a week, we will be celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, signifying a fresh start, a new life.

Following His crucifixion, the apostles were sure they would never see Jesus again. On the third day, Jesus rose from the dead and His followers began to commemorate His resurrection and a new beginning.

Spring is also an awakening of spring’s bounty. Lilies, chicks, eggs and bunnies are plentiful in the new season.

As a young girl, for me Easter Sundays began at St. Genevieve Church with sunrise processions in white dresses, then heading home for chocolate bunnies and lambs, marshmallow peeps, jelly beans and, not to forget, my mother’s homemade bread.

The most popular of Easter symbols is said to be the lamb, often molded in chocolate, butter and cakes.

Another well-known symbol, the bunny or hare, can be traced back to the 13th century in Germany, with the first Easter bunny legend documented in the 1500s. German immigrants brought the popular legend to the United States by the 1700s.

Always favored at Easter is the fluffy yellow chick, a sign of the circle of life’s renewal as the chick comes from the egg. It seems these popular legends have been enjoyed generation after generation.

A recent visit with Kathy Roth, a member of the Early American Pattern Glass Society, offered me a connection with Easter traditions from long ago. We checked through several albums filled with hundreds of vintage holiday cards, many celebrating the joyful time of Easter. Gathered over the years and carefully preserved by Kathy’s grandmother Edythe, many of the cards date back to the 1800s.

Additional treasures from her extensive glass collection include beautiful 1870s candlesticks created with crucifixes or crosses, prominent fixtures at Easter. Colorful blown glass eggs, baskets, chickens and bunnies are some of her favorites.

“Years ago, my parent’s purchased an Australian egg dish from my doctor,” said Kathy. “It dates back to the 1890s and I use it often.”

Did you know that:

• In Medieval times, eggs were forbidden during Lent. They were preserved and a mainstay of Easter meals and a prized gift for children and servants.

• Egyptians, Persians, Greeks and Romans gave eggs at Easter as a symbol of life.

• Early Easter baskets had the appearance of bird nests.

• The first edible Easter bunnies were made out of pastry and sugar in the early 1800s.

• Chocolate eggs were first made in 19th century Europe.

• Red jellybeans are said to be the favorites of kids.

• In Medieval Europe, churchgoers would be led by a crucifix or Easter candle in a walk after Easter Mass. Today these walks are known as Easter parades with folks showing off spring finery including their bonnets.

For more information on the Early American Pattern Glass Society, email

comments powered by Disqus