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Senior News: Easter traditions practiced at home and abroad

NIAGARA, Wis. — The season of Lent has officially begun, which means the celebration of Easter is right around the corner, along with the official start of spring. We are all familiar with our own Easter traditions but probably are not aware of those that are observed in other areas of the world. So today I want to do a little globe hopping to learn how this holiday is celebrated in foreign lands.

The celebration of Easter in Great Britain begins on Good Friday and is the most important celebration in the Christian church year. Like us, the Brits tell stories about the Easter bunny and give chocolate eggs and Easter cards. Hot cross buns are also a favorite British Easter treat. They are a spiced sweet bun made with currants or raisins and marked with a cross on the top. The eating of hot cross buns marks the end of Lent because they are made with dairy products that are forbidden during this period. While an Easter ham is favored in America, the Brits prefer lamb. This tradition comes from the availability of the first lamb of the season, which historically came to market around the time of Easter.

In the town square of Haux, France, thousands of people gather on Easter Monday to celebrate with an enormous omelet made from more than 5,000 eggs, 110 pounds of onions and garlic, and 9 pounds of salt and pepper. Everyone at the event joins in to eat some for lunch. This tradition has been taking place in France for over 30 years. According to legend, Napoleon was traveling across southern France with his army when he first tasted an omelet prepared for him at an inn near Bessieres. He enjoyed it so much that he had a giant one made for his troops the next day, and so began the tradition.

In Florence, Italy, The Explosion of the Cart is a tradition that started more than 300 years ago. The cart stands more than 30 feet tall and is pulled by a pair of white oxen from Via Il Prato to Piazza Duomo to sit between the cathedral and baptistery. At 11 a.m., the Archbishop of Florence stands at the altar and lights a dove-shaped rocket to symbolize the holy spirit. This rocket is fired into the cart, causing the fireworks on top to explode. This tradition is called Scoppio del Carro and is followed by a parade in medieval costumes.

In Sweden and Finland, on the Thursday before Easter, children go door to door trading paintings and drawings for chocolate eggs and sweets. They wear colorful headscarves, color their cheeks red, and carry bunches of willow twigs decorated with feathers. Large bonfires are also burned on Easter Sunday. This tradition comes from a legend that the Swedish witches went to Blakulla before Easter to party with the Devil. To stop the witches from coming back, Swedish people set large bonfires ablaze. This is also celebrated in Finland as a Nordic tradition.

In Brazil, Easter celebrations are more focused on religious beliefs, as it is a very religious country with the majority of the population being Catholic. On Easter Saturday, Brazilians hold a mini-carnival in small towns as a celebration for the end of Lent. They give gifts of large chocolate eggs either hollow or filled with tasty sweets. These eggs fill the aisles in shops up to a month before Easter.

There are many Easter traditions in Bermuda, including kite flying, local delicacies and religious ceremonies. On Good Friday, the sky is transformed into a mosaic of beautiful shapes, colors, and sounds as Bermudians fly kites. The tradition began when a local teacher from the British Army struggled to explain Christ’s ascension to Heaven. So, he made a kite, traditionally shaped like a cross, to show the ascension. Another tradition in Bermuda is eating cod fish cakes and hot cross buns. The hot cross buns are directly imported from Great Britain for the Easter holidays.

Easter is one of the most important holidays in Bulgaria. It starts on Palm Sunday, continues through Holy Week and culminates on the Great Day. Bright red eggs and Easter bread — known as kozunak — are the main traditions in Bulgaria for Easter. The Bulgarian “Good Luck Crack” is a unique tradition, where people take turns tapping their eggs against the eggs of others; they are even known to throw the eggs at each other. The person who ends up with the last unbroken egg is believed to have a year of good luck. In another tradition, the oldest woman in the family rubs the faces of children with the first red egg she has painted. This symbolizes her wish for them to have health and strength.

In Hungary, “Sprinkling” is a popular Easter tradition that takes place on Easter Monday, which is also known as “Ducking Monday.” Boys playfully sprinkle perfume or perfumed water on girls’ heads and ask for a kiss. Historically, it was believed that water had a cleansing, healing and fertility-inducing effect.

In Poland, they celebrate “Wet Monday,” also known as Smigus-Dyngus, which is a tradition that involves people throwing lots of water at each other. The tradition goes back to when boys were allowed to drench girls in water and smack them with branches of pussy willow. This was meant as a way of showing their affection and usually resulted in marriage.

In Central and Eastern Europe, Easter eggs are taken to another level. Hard-boiled eggs are painted with beautiful designs and left on tables as decorations. The eggs are a symbol of fertility and rebirth and were thought to be a part of Pagan Spring Festivals. Another tradition is hosting huge bonfires with family and friends; an old Pagan ritual believed to bring fertile fields and protection from illness to all that the light from the fire touches.

In the United States, an annual Easter Egg Roll takes place on the White House lawn on Easter Monday. Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th president, hosted the first White House Easter Egg Roll in 1878. He had  been taking a walk when a group of children approached him and asked about the possibility of such an event on the South Lawn of the White House. Hayes liked the idea, and it continues to be a tradition today. This year will be the 146th annual Easter Egg Roll.

When I was a kid, I was in the children’s choir at Grace Lutheran Church in my hometown, and we sang at the sunrise service on Easter Sunday. My mom was not an early riser — at least not early enough to get four young children ready for church that early. So, my great aunt Ida picked me up and got me to church on time to sing at that early hour. And then we ate Easter breakfast in the church fellowship hall together before she took me home. I never ate much there because I did not like the food — something about runny eggs and melting Jell-O did not appeal to my young palate.

Once home, I ate a “real” breakfast with my mom and siblings. And then we checked our Easter baskets to see what treats had been left in them by the Easter Bunny. Throughout the week before Easter Sunday, we made our Easter baskets out of shoe boxes. My mother made paste and set us up on the dining room table with colored construction paper, crepe paper streamers, scissors, and crayons and let us create our own “baskets” into which that magical bunny would deliver his treats. We picked the hiding place and were always excited to see what that rabbit had left for us in those boxes magically transformed by our young imaginations into something special.

I have to say that transforming those shoe boxes into Easter baskets with my siblings is one of the happiest memories I have from my childhood, and I give my mother a lot of credit for encouraging our creativity.

——

NURSING HOMES/SENIOR LIVING FACILITIES

Freeman Nursing and Rehabilitation Community

Kingsford

906-774-1530

They welcome anyone who would like to entertain residents. Volunteers are also needed to help with crafts and other activities.

Sunday: Church on TV/resident self-activities, 10 a.m.; Strong Tower Church group, 2 p.m.

Monday: Dining room fun, 10 a.m.; dining music, 11:45 a.m.; dice club, 1:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Room visits, 10 a.m.; trivia, 11:45 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Nails, 10 a.m.; dining music, 11:45 a.m.; movie, “Lassie,” popcorn, 1:30 p.m.

Thursday: Room visits, 10 a.m.; dining trivia, 11:45 a.m.; table talk, 1:30 p.m.; shut the box, 2 p.m.

Friday: Spa hour, 10 a.m.; dining music, 11:45 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Resident choice; color a nice picture, 1 p.m.; CNBC “Undercover Boss,” 7 p.m.

Iron County Medical Care Facility

Crystal Falls

906-874-1501

Sunday: Room visits, 9 a.m.; reminisce, 10 a.m.; chair exercise, 11 a.m.; room visits, 12:30 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Monday: Memory books, 9:30 a.m.; exercise, 10:45 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; Sunshine Club, 2:30 p.m.; jokes and cocoa, 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Catholic Mass, 10 a.m.; book club, 10 a.m.; travel film, 1:30 p.m.; high rollers, 2 p.m.; western movie, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Community breakfast, 8:30 a.m.; “Name That Tune,” 10 a.m.; exercise, 10:45 a.m.; monthly birthday party, music, cake, fun, 2 p.m.; night bingo, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Puzzler, 9:30 a.m.; bowling, 10 a.m.; Alvin Senior Center, 10:30 a.m.; Bible study, 1 p.m.; travel film, 1:30 p.m.; happy hour with music, 2 p.m.

Friday: Crafts, 9:30 a.m.; exercise, 10:45 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; senior bball, 2 p.m.; musical movie, 6 p.m.

Saturday: ICMCF word search/hangman, 10 a.m.; geri-gym, 11 a.m.; social hour, 2 p.m.; classic movie, 6 p.m.

Optalis Healthcare

(formerly Manor Care/ProMedica)

Kingsford

906-774-4805

Sunday: File and style, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; Flip-o, 1 p.m.

Monday: Wet your whistle, 9 a.m.; our president, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; Bob Larson, 1:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Wet your whistle, 9 a.m.; exercise, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; sweet cherry pie, 1:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Wet your whistle, 9 a.m.; February fun facts, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; First Lutheran church, 2 p.m.

Thursday: Wet your whistle, 9 a.m.; chair yoga, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; bowling, 2 p.m.

Friday: Chips and chatter, 9 a.m.; reminiscing, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Devotional, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; po-ke-no, 1 p.m.

Maryhill Manor Nursing Home

Niagara, Wis.

715-251-3172

Sunday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; delivery of communion, 12:30 p.m.; movie and snacks, 2 p.m.

Monday: Rosary/communion service, 9 a.m.; pamper and polish, 10 a.m.; piano and string instruments in the chapel, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Rosary/communion service, 9 a.m.; Protestant service, 10 a.m.; hot cocoa/Disney trivia, 10 a.m.; muffin baking, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Rosary/communion service, 9 a.m.; name that star, 10 a.m.; jokereno, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m.

Thursday: Rosary/communion service, 9 a.m.; Uno, 10 a.m.; chili cook-off, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m.

Friday: Make dog biscuits for our doggy friends, 10 a.m.; C&R happy hour, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Yahtzee, 10 a.m.; prize bingo, 2 p.m.

Northshore Healthcare

Florence, Wis.

715-528-4833

Sunday: Independent activities.

Monday: Word search, 10 a.m.; bowling, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Room visits, 10 a.m.; manicure, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Exercise/dancing, 10 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Thursday: Pastor Jason, 10 a.m.; bean bag toss, 2 p.m.

Friday: Catholic communion, 10 a.m.; movie, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Independent activities.

Victorian Pines

Iron Mountain

906-774-5158

Sunday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; Bible study, 1:30 p.m.

Monday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; bingo and refreshments, 1:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; trivia and refreshments, 1:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; bingo and refreshments, 1:30 p.m.

Thursday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; refreshments, 1:30 p.m.

Friday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; refreshments, 1:30 p.m.

Saturday: Juice time, 10 a.m.

Pinecrest Medical

Care Facility

Powers

906-497-5244

Sunday: Morning visits and reality orientation; church services, 10 a.m.; trivia, 11:15 a.m.; bunco, 2 p.m.

Monday: Morning visits and reality orientation; open room, 9:30 a.m.; shopping, 10 a.m.; presidential trivia, 11 a.m.; manicure Monday, 2 p.m.; cards, 4 p.m.

Tuesday: Morning visits and reality orientation; open room, 9:30 a.m.; table talk, 11 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; Yahtzee, 4 p.m.

Wednesday: Morning visits and reality orientation; open room, 9:30 a.m.; “Jeopardy,” 11 a.m.; paint and sip, 2 p.m.; short stories, 4 p.m.

Thursday: Morning visits and reality orientation; open room, 9:30 a.m.; who-what-where, 11 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; sensory, 4 p.m.

Friday: Morning visits and reality orientation; open room, 9:30 a.m.; Lindbergh’s flight trivia, 11 a.m.; craft for the birds, 2 p.m.; who-what-where, 4 p.m.

Saturday: Morning visits and reality orientation; noodle ball, 10:15 a.m.; trivia, 11 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; activity packets

SENIOR CENTERS

Alpha-Mastodon Center

906-875-3315

The center at 415 Main St. is open four days a week, serving soup and sandwich meal from noon to 1 p.m. Thursdays, fish fries from 4 to 7 p.m. Fridays, pizzas from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturdays and dinner from 2 to 3 p.m. Sundays.

Amasa Center

906-822-7284

Menu for the —

Tuesday: Scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, sausage patties, orange juice.

Wednesday: Tater tot casserole, spinach side salad, Jell-O with fruit.

Thursday: Open-face chicken sandwich with gravy, mashed potatoes, peas and carrots.

Breen Center

Kingsford

906-774-5110

Open for dine-in eating Monday through Thursday, serving at noon. Carryout meals are available. Soup and salad bar are also available. Friday and night meals are on hold indefinitely.

Menu for the week —

Monday: Creamy chicken vegetable soup, grilled cheese sandwich, yogurt cup.

Tuesday: Breakfast meal – eggs, potatoes, bacon.

Wednesday: Turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, dressing, pumpkin pie.

Thursday: Pasty pie, beets, stewed tomatoes.

Note: All meals served with a choice of skim milk or juice and fruit.

Crystal Falls Center

Head Cook: Sterling Peryam

Assistant Cook: Bitsy Peryam

906-875-6709

The center is open on Mondays and is serving meals for dine-in or takeout — call the center by 1 p.m. to make reservations or place an order. All food is purchased from local vendors. All dinners include warm vegetables, salad bar, soup, homemade desserts, coffee, tea or milk. Salad bar begins at 4:30 p.m. and dinner is served at 5 p.m. Pickup for takeout meals is 4 p.m. — call ahead and leave a message with phone number. A volunteer will deliver meals to homebound citizens only.

Menu for the week —

Monday: Goulash, dinner roll.

Tuesday: Glazed ham with white and sweet potatoes.

Wednesday: Pizza, garlic bread.

Home-delivered meals (prepared by DICSA — independent from above menu) —

Monday: Cheese tortellini with meat sauce, broccoli, garlic bread, fresh fruit.

Tuesday: Mushroom Swiss burger, french fries, baked beans.

Wednesday: Roast beef, mashed potatoes with gravy, buttered Brussel sprouts, pudding.

Thursday: Egg-cheese-ham muffin, hashbrowns, pears, yogurt.

Dickinson-Iron Community Services Agency

DICSA

Iron Mountain

906-774-2256, ext. 230 or 235

This is a Meals on Wheels program only. Home-delivered meals only — call to make arrangements. Menu for the week —

Monday: Cheese tortellini with meat sauce, broccoli, garlic bread, fresh fruit.

Tuesday: Mushroom Swiss burger, french fries, baked beans.

Wednesday: Roast beef, mashed potatoes with gravy, buttered Brussel sprouts, pudding.

Thursday: Egg-cheese-ham muffin, hashbrowns, pears, yogurt.

Friday: Chicken Caesar salad, hard-boiled egg, string cheese, banana.

Note: All meals include a choice of skim milk, juice or no beverage.

For more information, call Christine McMahon at 906-774-2256.

Crystal Lake Center

Iron Mountain

906-828-1776

Schedule for the week:

Monday: Les Artistes’ Art Club, noon to 4 p.m.; woodcarvers, starting at 9 a.m.

Tuesday: Cards, pinochle and cribbage, noon to 4 p.m.; Happy Quilters, noon to 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Bingo, 1 to 3 p.m.; cards cost 25 cents with 10 games played.

Thursday: Spinning Spools quilting, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Friday: Cards, smear, noon to 4 p.m.

Felch Center

906-246-3559

Open for dine-in eating — call for serving times. Carryout meals also available. Menu for the week —

Monday: Sloppy Joes, potato wedges, buttered corn.

Tuesday: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes with gravy, peas.

Wednesday: Night meal — spaghetti and meatballs, green beans, breadstick.

Note: All meals served with skim milk or juice.

Home-delivered meals —

Monday: Cheese tortellini with meat sauce, broccoli, garlic bread, fresh fruit.

Tuesday: Mushroom Swiss burger, french fries, baked beans.

Wednesday: Roast beef, mashed potatoes with gravy, buttered Brussel sprouts, pudding.

Aging and Disability Resource Center

Florence County, Wis.

715-528-4890

Director: Tiffany White

Menu for the week —

Monday: Closed for Presidents’ Day.

Tuesday: Mushroom Swiss burger, baked beans, sweet potato fries, fruit

Wednesday: Hot pork sandwich, mashed potatoes, peas and carrots, fruited Jell-O.

Thursday: Waikiki meatballs, rice, Oriental vegetables, fruit.

Friday: Beer-battered fish, tater tots, coleslaw, fruit.

Note: All meals served with whole grain bread, butter and milk.

Fence Center/Town Hall

715-336-2980

RSVP for meal at 855-528-2372

Same as ADRC menu, served at noon on Wednesdays only.

Florence Community Center/Town Hall

RSVP for meal at 715-528-4261

Same as ADRC menu, served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday.

Reservations for a meal onsite need to be made 48 hours in advance by calling the above number.

Tipler Town Hall

RSVP for meals at 715-674-2320

Same as ADRC menu, served at noon on second Thursday only.

Hillcrest Senior Dining Center, Aurora

RSVP for meals at 715-589-4491

Same as ADRC menu, served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Hermansville Center

Coordinator: Barb Peters

906-498-7735

Center is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Meals are served through the Menominee-Delta-Schoolcraft Community Action Agency in Escanaba. Meals-On-Wheels program is available for those who are homebound.

Monday: Chicken Alfredo, mixed vegetables, salad, cooked apples.

Tuesday: Boiled dinner with ham, potatoes, carrots and cabbage, biscuit.

Wednesday: Meatloaf, boiled potatoes, green beans, fruit cocktail, whole wheat bread.

Thursday: Sweet and sour pork with bell peppers, onions and pineapple over rice, Oriental vegetable blend, tropical fruit.

Friday: Breaded pollock, tartar sauce, hamburger bun, red oven potatoes, baked beans, fruit cup.

Iron River Center

906-265-6134

Open for dine-in eating, serving at 11 a.m. Salad bar is available. Carryout meals also available. No night meals at this time. Menu for the week —

Monday: Egg bake, hash brown patty, sausage.

Tuesday: Mushroom-Swiss burger, french fries, macaroni and cheese.

Wednesday: Vegetable beef soup, garlic biscuit, spinach side salad, pudding cup.

Thursday: Barbecue chicken, mashed potatoes, creamed corn.

Niagara Senior Center/Cafe

715-251-1603

The center is open, and dinner is served at noon on Monday through Thursday. Reservations are required one day in advance. Suggested donation is $5 for those older than 60 and $11 for 60 and younger. Bingo played on most Wednesdays. Transportation is available.

Tuesday: Chili, cornbread, dessert.

Wednesday: Beef tips with gravy, mashed potatoes, Brussel sprouts, dinner roll, pineapple upside down cake.

Thursday: Liver and onions with bacon, oven potatoes, peas and carrots, peaches.

The center will have bingo on Tuesdays and Wednesdays this month.

Norway Center

Director: Joyce Olesky

Head Cook:  Brian Gutkowski

906-563-8716

Open for dine-in eating beginning at 11:15 a.m. Salad bar is available from 10:30 to 11 a.m. Takeout meals will remain available for pick-up from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Let staff know if planning to dine in or pick up. Menu for the week —

Monday: Cheese ravioli, garlic bread, vegetables.

Tuesday: Polish sausage, sauerkraut, red potatoes, vegetables.

Wednesday: Liver or burger and onions, mashed potatoes with gravy, vegetables.

Thursday: Finnish pancake, sausage, hash browns, strawberries.

All meals include milk, juice, fruit, bread and dessert.

Center activity schedule:

Mondays and Thursdays — Exercise at 10 a.m. and card bingo after the meal.

Monday through Thursday — Card game 101 from noon to 3 p.m. Call Joe at 906-563-5587 for information.

Tuesdays — Quilting and sewing.

Wednesdays — Ceramics and crocheting.

Last Monday of each month — Book club at 9 a.m.

Second Thursday of each month — Birthdays and bingo.

Sagola Center

906-542-3273

Open for dine-in eating — call for serving times. Carryout meals also available. Menu for the week —

Tuesday: Biscuits and sausage gravy, fried potatoes, fresh fruit.

Wednesday: Baked chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, Brussel sprouts.

Thursday: Italian sausage sandwich, dill baby carrots, tuna salad.

All meals served with an option of milk, juice or no beverage.

Home-delivered meals —

Monday: Cheese tortellini with meat sauce, broccoli, garlic bread, fresh fruit.

Tuesday: Mushroom Swiss burger, french fries, baked beans.

Wednesday: Roast beef, mashed potatoes with gravy, buttered Brussel sprouts, pudding.

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