Episode 17: In which Mim and her friends fall down the Easter rabbit hole
For me, the Easter break is associated with camping and Easter egg hunts in the forest. Or, with the Australian autumn weather permitting, I would sometimes spend Easter at the beach. Montreal showed me a slightly different take on Easter festivities.
For one, in Australia we have the Easter Bilby. In the early ‘90s this native, endangered Australian marsupial was proposed as the country’s new Easter mascot. The rabbit was an introduced species and it only seemed right to replace the pest. Though, of course, the Easter Bunny wasn’t totally eradicated. Marketing prevails.
On Sunday my friend hosted an Easter brunch. Arriving late, I came into a crowded kitchen. Hot cross buns were being made, along with a mixed-meat frittata, fried potatoes and a cheese platter. On the table were mini muffins, bagels, a Triple Sec-infused fruit salad and a matzah millefeuille.
As we drank mimosas, the host—who is renowned for her love of any festive occasion—read out a brief history of Easter that she’d pre-written with a humorous, sassy spin. She began, “Once upon a time there was a kid born in Bethlehem…”
She had also prepared something special for a friend who had never done an Easter egg hunt. Saddened by this lost childhood experience, the host and her boyfriend arranged a scavenger hunt. Before we arrived they had hidden a series of poetic, cryptic notes around the house, each giving clues to where the next was hidden. Like two cute parents, they watched as the excited child-at-heart rushed from one corner to the next, finding notes within Lonely Planet books and tucked under the collar of their pet cat. At the end of the trail was a golden Lindt rabbit. Attached to it was a red ribbon with a bell, which was soon transformed into a bracelet: a proud token of her accomplishment.
Then it was time for the real Easter egg hunt. After five of us hid them around the lounge room and kitchen, the remaining four went to find them. We found the shiny wrapped chocolates on top of lamp shades, in the crevices of Xbox consoles and nestled in the cup-like heads of tulip flowers.
In essence, the Easter holiday wasn’t too different from what I am used to. It is a fairly universal occasion, after all. There was good food, festive activities and, most importantly, friends sharing the happy occasion. Best of all, the host—with her track record of perfect roasts and lavender scones—delighted us with her homemade hot cross buns, a family tradition of hers.
Though it can be bittersweet, one of the best things about being in a “foreign” place for festivities like these is seeing the unique and special things that new friends bring to the table (both figuratively and literally—like the matzah millefeuille, which was new to me). Here’s to new friends and new traditions!