Easter in New Zealand is a serious affair for several reasons. It is one of the few really long weekends that people get here; it coincides with school holidays; this year it coincided with ANZAC day (more later) and Eater is a festival that is actually observed quite widely. There is a strong Christian presence in the country, though it is not overt and in-your-face. People are reserved about their religion but many people are regular church goers.
Added to that is the government’s restriction on trading hours during this period – businesses are heavily fined for trading on Good Friday and Eater Monday. ANZAC day was initially started to commemorate the WWI fallen soldiers from Oz and NZ (particularly following the heavy losses at Gallipoli) but it has subsequently been a day of observance for all soldiers, past and present. About 30,000 Kiwi soldiers have died in foreign wars. The day is very widely observed and there are many dawn and midday parades and remembrance services all over the city. The sale of red poppies funds an organisation called the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association which looks after veterans and serving soldiers. Everyone buys and proudly wears the poppies for weeks prior to ANZAC day.
So for Good Friday we were invited to join the 5 Ds (Dean, Delia, Demi, Degan and Declan Viljoen) at their home for their traditional Easter Egg decorating and general vegging day. We were told that there would be snacks to eat and that there would not be a definite schedule. Well there was a feast of food that never stopped. We arrived at 10:00 and left at 21:00! And all through this time the kids were quietly engaged in decorating their eggs.
Dean mastered the art of drilling through and emptying eggs while Jules learnt from her hosts just how creative they could get with acrylics, beads, glue, feather and other things. The 5 Ds have collected and preserved all the eggs they have ever made and brought them here from SA. So after the unbelievably good lamb roast the boys set out to find an appropriate tree on which to hang their collection. I finally dragged Jules out of there at 9pm because our hosts were in their pyjamas, some were asleep and the rest were heading to dreamland pretty fast – Jules just wanted to finish one last egg …. Here are the fruits of everyone’s labours.