South Dakota Easter memories from the 1950s

Easter, the holiest day in Christianity, is a time of great rejoicing and celebrated widely.  Growing up in South Dakota it was a special time for my siblings and me during the 1950s.  We had the practice of “giving up” candy during Lent and, since Lent officially ended at noon on Saturday of Holy Week, we splurged and indulged our taste in sweets.  Mine was chocolate, my favorite food group (the other three being Coke, popcorn and fruit).  What fun it was not to have to wait until after mass on Easter to be able to feast a bit.

The other activity of the day before Easter was the annual tradition of dyeing Easter eggs.  Oh, the patience my mom had, especially the year we spontaneously invited three or four of the neighborhood kids to join us in this ritual.  I don’t have any bad memories of that day so we must not have spilled the egg-dye.  Probably the layers of newspapers we had spread around served a good purpose.

My favorite egg color was purple.  Maybe it was the intensity.  And we loved to put the decals on the eggs but that usually did not turn out very well.  And I always scratched my colored egg with the metal thingy we used to handle the eggs.  It was obvious at an early age that being an egg-dyeing artist was not in my future.  <Sigh>

When there were only one egg left to dye, we would pour all the colors together and the result was a muddy-looking colored egg.   Not surprisingly, that one was buried at the bottom of the pile of the colored eggs.  It was not very pretty.

The other element of preparing for Easter was The Easter Outfit.  That probably meant a new dress, shoes, and hat since we covered our head in church.  Most years we only bought what needed to be replaced, especially if we’d had a growth spurt in the past months.  But it was always a special feeling to have our new outfit.  My mother was an excellent seamstress and she made some of our clothes, frequently using the same pattern and type of fabric for my sister and me.  But the dresses were always a different color so we were not “matched.”  It was a special feeling to attend mass on Easter Sunday looking our best.

Happy Easter to all my readers!



About maryjlohr

Avid genealogist.
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3 Responses to South Dakota Easter memories from the 1950s

  1. Pat Grohs says:

    Mary, I love your post. And thanks for the fond memories, especially about the neighborhood children dyeing the eggs with us. The only thing I remember differently is that I thought we had to wait until after Easter Sunday Mass to finally get our “treats.” That is how I remember it. But I am the younger sister and you are probably right. Ha ha.

  2. Merlene says:

    Mary: I love your memories. Although I grew up in central Iowa, mine are very similar. Except our big treat was the Easter basket that we found when we came home from Sunday School and Church. My mom’s family always came to our house for Easter dinner and my cousin and I were the “little girls”, so our baskets were always the biggest! And we had an egg hunt after our big dinner.

  3. Karen Engesser says:

    Your memoirs bring back pleasant thoughts & memories…my memories are from Ohio, but very similar.

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