I love Easter. My family has always had a lot of traditions surrounding the holiday of Easter, which has made the holiday special for me. My sister and I always had the Easter Bunny hide our eggs and our baskets. We would always have a competition to see who would get more eggs (I always won). To this day, we still buy the egg-dyeing kits and color our eggs. The only difference between now and then is that this time, my sister and I clean up after ourselves when we’re done.

By far, the most interesting Easter tradition I’ve ever participated in was Salubong, a Filipino Easter devotion. Salubong, which means “meeting” in Tagalog, is a reenactment of the meeting of Jesus and Mary on Easter morning. Traditionally, in Filipino villages, the men carry a statue of Jesus on one side and the women carry a statue of Mary (wearing a black mourning veil/cloth) on the other side. They meet up, and a young girl dressed in white removes the black mourning veil from Mary, revealing a white veil underneath.

At a church in Houston, we would do a variation of this. All of the girls 10 and under in the community were asked to arrive at the church at 3:30 in the morning dressed as angels (white dresses/nightgowns with some sort of wings–my dad made wings out of cardboard boxes for me and my sister, complete with shoulder straps). They would stand us on a platform (a lot of the younger girls would fall asleep) and line the men and women up on different sides of the church. They would come around the church and meet in front of the platform, singing. Then, one of us would sing a really beautiful hymn (to this day, I have no idea what she was singing, but she sang beautifully) and pull off the black veil. It’s a beautiful ceremony to watch, performed around four on Easter morning. I was heartbroken the year that they told me that I was too old to be in the ceremony and envied my sister for getting to be in it for a few more years than I did. I still enjoy watching it.

After the ceremony, we’d have Easter morning mass, said in a combination of English and Tagalog (we affectionately call it Taglish). After mass, like at any good Filipino party, there was food–a breakfast feast, complete with rice porridge and ginger tea. When we finally drove home, around six or seven in the morning, we’d be exhausted (my family is completely incapable of going to bed early and usually just pulled an all-nighter) but happy. Easter, for us, began before the sun rose.

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