Growing up, tradition was an important part of my family. Despite the family bonding that happened around Easter, I always felt as though some aspects of our Easter tradition just didn’t quite fit the compassionate message that Jesus seemed to stand for.
As far back as I can remember, my mother would wake me up every Easter morning, and I’d excitedly get dressed in a pastel, floral getup—the kind that includes frilly socks and a pink woven wide-brimmed hat. I’d slip into my purple wool cardigan while my mother donned her massive black mink coat.
We would then go to church and come home for the long-established Easter egg hunt (using real eggs that we’d dyed the day before). Afterwards, my sister and I would tear through our Easter baskets, which were filled to the brim with milk chocolate coins. Easter dinner would typically consist of a gigantic roast, potatoes with turkey gravy, bread and butter, dirty rice, and seafood gumbo.
Years later at 13, I began questioning everything. I asked myself why we ate foods that cost animals their lives and why animals were killed to make coats. I began to research how animals are exploited and quickly went vegetarian after I discovered the gruesome truth that I had searched for.
Now as an adult, I still celebrate Easter but put my own twist on the traditions so that no one has to suffer for my celebration. On Easter morning last year, I slipped on a cute lavender summer dress with a cotton cardigan. I donned my new pleather wedge heels and walked a few blocks to church. For Easter dinner, I cooked up a savory vegan gumbo (a recipe that my mother was excited to come up with from scratch!), and for dessert, I enjoyed a vegan dark-chocolate bunny that my parents had mailed to me.
Cruelty-free Easter? I think the peaceful Jesus that I’ve grown familiar with would agree with that sentiment.
Are you a compassionate Christian? Please visit JesusPeopleForAnimals.com.