Spring Celebrations of Easter and Passover in Olympia


By Mary Ellen Psaltis

EasterPassoverASpring marks the Christian celebration of the resurrection of Christ, the Jewish celebration of the deliverance from slavery in Egypt and the secular celebration of the arrival of the Easter Bunny. Many people integrate their festivities by sharing meals, egg decorating and religious services with friends and family.

I can still recall the pungent vapors arising from cups of boiled water and vinegar that dissolved colored tablets of PAAS dyes. My whole family decorated eggs, some hardboiled and others with the insides blown out. The following week’s menu included egg salad and deviled eggs, with wildly colored veins. Before church, I hunted the house for hidden jellybeans and a basket filled with chocolate morsels. Then the family headed to church. I was usually wearing a new spring dress and a shiny pair of patent leather shoes.

EasterPaasThe egg decorating tradition carried through to my children, albeit, PAAS figured out how to eliminate the need for the vinegar. Church did not require new outfits, but I noticed that hats were often popular.

My mom’s husband observed Passover in his family with a seder dinner and special foods through the week. He remembers pillows they used to recline on the floor, which is part of the traditional celebration. I once took part in a Greek Easter meal where we took turns tapping our red hard-boiled eggs with each other – the most intact egg at the end wins and gets good luck for the year.

In whatever manner you celebrate Easter and/or the Passover season, Ralph’s Thriftway and Bayview Thriftway are stocked with the food, decorations and miscellaneous items for you to craft the holiday that you want to enjoy.

The centerpiece of a Jewish Passover table is the seder plate. Each item represents part of the story of Passover. For example, the Zeroa or shank bone represents the sacrifice made the night the ancient Hebrews fled Egypt. Non-meat eaters might use a roasted beet. Some say the bone represents the outstretched arm of God. The bitter herbs can represent the harshness of slavery and can also mean one’s enslavement to a habit or addiction.

Here’s a list for the seder plate:

  • Karpas – vegetable could be lettuce, cucumber, radish or parsley
  • Zeroa – shank bone or roasted beet
  • Baytzah – hardboiled egg
  • Charoset – mixture of apples, nuts, wine and spices
  • Maror – bitter herbs, usually horseradish – the root or the prepared paste
  • Hazeret – bitter vegetable perhaps romaine
  • Salt
  • Orange – sometimes used
  • Matza
  • Wine

EasterBasketThriftway is ready for you to have a traditional or unconventional Easter dinner. You decide. Ham is popular and Cook’s hams have various sizes and cuts. Maybe you want to roast a turkey. Linger in the produce department for plenty of fruit and vegetable options. You will find organic asparagus and fresh spring greens. If you want bread, there are frozen rolls in the freezer case and several fresh options from the San Francisco Street Bakery, the Essential Baking Company or the La Brea Bakery. Wagner’s rolled cinnamon bread loaf would be fun on Easter morning. Remember to get your eggs, too.

Help for the Easter Bunny

asaparagusThe famous Easter Bunny has been known to bring jellybeans and prize filled baskets to many a youth. Ralph’s and Bayview have colored baskets, grasses, and plastic eggs that can be filled with coin or candy. Of course, you will find chocolates galore – in the shape of rabbits, carrots, and sheep to name a few. Don’t forget the Peeps, neon bright puffs of marshmallow dusted with sugar. Yes, they will expand mightily in a microwave – but keep watch. Barely a few seconds.

You don’t have to remember that Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. Or that Passover begins on the 15th day Nisan, which is the seventh month in the Jewish calendar. Just remember that when spring officially arrives, neither is far off.

Hop on over to Bayview or Ralph’s. Notice the lovely spring flowers on display, inhale deeply and buy a bouquet and a little chocolate to share.

Eat Well – Be Well

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