Hispanic cultures treat Easter a little bit differently than the Greeks and Polish people, I’ve interviewed and researched. There tends to be a more secular focus, in line with the commercialization and Americanization effects on this traditionally sacred holiday.
Out of the three people I have interviewed, only one placed an importance on religion.
Andrew Batista, a Dominican student at St. John’s University, when asked to describe his Easter traditions states, “We go to church everyday during Holy Week. [Each mass is] a mass that is geared especially towards that day and how it was recorded in the Bible. On Easter Sunday, you have to go to church in the nicest clothes you own. After, we have a big lunch. Then, we just spend time together as a family, which happens to be very big in Spanish cultures (I have 8 brothers and sisters and about 25 cousins).” Mr. Batista and his family take special time out of the week before Easter to attend mass on a daily basis. However, we can still see the effect commercialization has. He states, “You have to go to church in the nicest clothes you own.” There is an emphasis placed on materialistic possessions, something that seems contrary to Christian teachings.
Andrea Hernandez, a Peruvian and Chilean freshman at Five Towns College, depicts the effect America has had on this secular holiday. Although her family does not do anything big for Easter other than mass on the Sunday and a family dinner, her parents comment on what it was like back in their country of origin. Her mother, of Peruvian decent, states, “In Peru it isn’t celebrated like it is here. There are no bunnies or big dinners. My mom would just receive a chocolate egg from my grandfather and inside would be a surprise. My mom just said in America it’s much more exaggerated than it is over there.”
Jackie Cosse, a Dominican freshman at Amherst College, expounds the effect her American upbringing has had on her view of Easter. Ms. Cosse states, “Living in an American household, we went through the whole charade of the Easter bunny and all
of that, but the holiday was really more about the superficialities, to us kids anyway, as opposed to the religion. I think the kids in my family got more excited about the pretty new dresses they were going to wear, and the Easter egg hunts they got to embark on afterwards. As far as the Dominican Republic, I did spend one Easter there; I got a pretty dress to wear, the neighborhood kids came over to hunt for eggs in the backyard, but the one perceptible difference I remember was that it was more family oriented. I guess it gave me a different kind of Easter experience, one that was more centered around family, community. Religion obviously factored into that as well; religion was very important to my grandmother, so we also went to mass, but even that was different; we all sang these fun upbeat songs together, everyone within the church knew each other; they were all old friends. Overall I think it really just was a lot more centered around a time for everyone to come together rather than just games and fun and pretty dresses.” Living in America for all her life has given her a more secular, commercial based view of Easter, neglecting its true religious history, even though attending a Catholic High School.