#Museumfromhome Easter and Passover Celebrations in Greenbelt
If you are struggling to find eggs to dye for the coming Easter Holiday, know that this isn’t the first time this has been an issue. Back in 1943, in very early Greenbelt days, colored eggs for the popular Easter Egg Hunt just weren’t possible to make. Food shortages were the reality during the war, and colored eggs for the 425 children who participated in the hunt were impossible. The City staff created an “ersatz egg hunt” also called the “eggless Easter egg hunt." The “eggs” were brightly painted wood chips, and the consensus was that the children had just as much fun! The Greenbelt Easter Egg Hunt is still a tradition these many years later, and will undoubtedly come back next year. Until then, why not try an egg hunt at home with painted wood chips?
Easter Sunrise Services, held currently at Greenbelt Lake at Buddy Attick Park, are an ecumenical effort, and have been celebrated since the 1940s. Over the years, Easter Sunrise Services have been held at different locations such as the Community Church lawn (1944) and the Center School Lawn (1949), before settling in the current lovely location. Also canceled this year, the tradition is enduring and will continue.
In the 1950s, Greenbelters enjoyed the Easter Parade in the (Roosevelt) Center. All ages of citizens showed up at 1pm on Easter Sunday to parade through and be admired for their Spring finery and fanciful Easter bonnets. Prizes were awarded for the following: Woman with Prettiest Bonnet, Manicure Set; Teen-age Girl, Timex Watch; Best Dressed Man, Wallet; Best Dressed Teen-age Boy, Timex; Best Appearing Family, 10 Gallons of Gas, Lubrication and Oil Change. High stakes!
Easter greeting cards were so popular in the 1960s that Greenbelt Postmaster Emory Harman assured the residents that he was bringing on extra staff to handle the volume!
Passover celebrations in Greenbelt have been joyful for many years. Classes have been held at the JCC to help prepare the observant for Haggadah reading, and in the 1990s the Mishkan Torah Nursery School held a model Seder for the little ones to learn Passover traditions such as preparing charoset, an apple-nut-cinnamon mixture that looks much like the bricks enslaved Hebrews made in ancient times. Such rich traditions! The Greenbelt Museum wishes you a healthy and safe holiday.
Above: Levi Pitmann family, Mrs. Alice Pitmann (L), Jill, and Patrick, 1950. Greenbelt Museum Collection
Below: Greenbelt Museum spring display at 10B, photograph of Diane Ronchi Greenbelt Museum Collection, a 1939 Haggadah, Greenbelt Museum Collection