Blog: Easter traditions more than Peeps, bunnies

8:51 PM, Mar 24, 2013   |    comments
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A 55-year tradition is coming to an end. This is the last year for Eggshelland on Linden Lane in Lyndhurst.

For the past 55 years, Ron and Betty Manolio transformed their east side front yard into an Easter wonderland. There were different themes as the years went by. This year's theme is "Labor of Love" and contains a 2,619-eggshell portrait of Ron Manolio.

Like visiting Nela Park for its GE Christmas light display or taking trip after trip to local amusement park Geauga Lake, it's something you do year after year.

Nela Park's display continues, but on Sept. 21, 2007, Geauga Lake's amusement park closed after 119 years. The reason Eggshelland is ending its run is the August, 2012 death of Ron Manolio, from a blood infection.

He started Eggshelland back in 1957 with 750 eggshells. The displays grew year after year and this year's display has 21,000 eggshells.

But it always has the 45-foot cross and the mascot Easter Bunny.

Holiday traditions range from family to family, culture to culture. Easter in northeast Ohio used to mean Fanny Farmer candy and then Malley's candy. Easter weekend's Good Friday used to mean a trip to the cemetery to put flowers on the graves of our grandparents.

Easter also meant Easter midnight Mass for many.

Easter baskets also have changed, from only-available green grass to a myriad of colors of grass, from store-bought rattan-like baskets to plastic to specially handcrafted baskets.

And do you still hide the Easter baskets for your children ala the Easter Bunny or do you just place them in plain sight? Are there jelly beans inside?

Do you make sure there are Peeps and that iconic centerpiece -- the big chocolate bunny whose ears you immediately bite off first?

There are still Easter Egg Hunts in many communities in northeast Ohio where plastic eggs filled with candy are carefully hidden under bushes and the kids actually have to hunt.

But some communities now just divide the children into age groups, toss loose (but wrapped) candy in the grass and let the kids scramble with their empty baskets to pick them up.

The unpredictable northeast Ohio weather often forces the hunt indoors and somehow it's just not the same with candy tossed onto a gymnasium floor but the kids hardly know the difference.

Having ham for Easter dinner is also a tradition, as is the coconut-covered lamb cake for dessert.

My Aunt Kay used to be the one to bring the homemade lamb cake and there was one year that I fondly remember looking at the lamb on my parents' dining room table as the Easter "centerpiece" and noting that its eyes were crossed.

It was the absolute hit of that Easter. It's never too late to start new traditions, no matter what the holiday is. And you're never too old to get an Easter basket. Maybe this is the year to start a new tradition.






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