Cru Military Advent

Military Spouses Share Easter and Lent Traditions

By: Hope N. Griffin

Prior to moving to Ft. Bliss in El Paso, Texas I was unfamiliar with Lent. I grew up the oldest daughter of a non-denominational pastor and then headed off to Dallas Theological Seminary for grad school. Foolishly I thought I knew all there was to know surrounding Christian culture and traditions. As with most things in life, I still had a lot to learn.

Lent at Ft. Bliss

The Lent season quickly became my favorite time of the year. The church I attended hosted a pancake dinner on Fat Tuesday, the night before Lent begins, complete with piles of pancakes and King’s Cake. Ash Wednesday was revealed to me the first year in El Paso when the majority of people in town had smudges on their foreheads. I soon learned the beauty of the tradition and by our last year had the opportunity to take part in administering ashes, a privilege I will always cherish. The week before Easter is known as Holy Week. An entire week is set aside to walk through the Easter story in real time. It is a beautiful, solemn celebration of a risen God.

To discover more about Lent read What Is Lent All About and Why Is It Important?

Military Spouses Share Easter and Lent Traditions

My own experience led me to wonder what traditions friends have picked up during their military travels and PCSing. I put the question to the previous and current winners of the Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year. Their answers follow.

“I had never heard of a helicopter egg drop until I was at Fort Rucker! Home of aviation!” Robin Pruitt, 2017 Kentucky National Guard MSOY

“The Easter Bunny has been leaving eggs on the beach here in RI since we missed the community Easter egg hunt a few years ago. The kids think it is hilarious.” Mariah Batterman, 2019 Coast Guard District One MSOY

“Our Spouses Club hosts a huge Easter Party for the kids and families. Petting zoo, egg drop, food, and pictures with the Easter bunny… On Easter, I host a Donuts and Egg Hunt at my house for the kids in the neighborhood again! Lots of fun! Usually about 1,000 eggs. Started doing it four years ago at our last duty station, and have continued each year.” Meghan Wood, 2019 Coast Guard District Eleven MSOY

“Since I have been with my husband I have learned about the lamb cake.” Amanda Goralewski, 2018 & 2019 National Guard Tennessee MSOY (A cake in the shape of a lamb is a Polish tradition. Another spouse went on to say she has also seen butter in the shape of a lamb.)

“In Spain, which is mostly a Catholic country, everyone makes a huge deal of Lent and Easter. There are Carnival parades and parties for weeks leading up to Lent. Then during Holy Week, each town has multiple processions. Some are by candle light, others have bands and floats. Our kids loved participating in these Easter events!” Lizann Lightfoot, 2019 NAB Coronado MSOY

My personal favorite tradition, the one I plan to incorporate into my family’s celebration every year is the King Cake. We found a local New Orleans restaurant that makes them for Mardi Gras, but perhaps next year I’ll try to make one from scratch. One neat thing about the King Cake is that it varies greatly depending on where and who is making it.

Q: What traditions around Easter and Lent have you picked up over the years?