Hi to everyone. This is Frances Mills coming to you from Cajun Country Recipes.
Today I want to write about what makes Easter so special on the bayou. One of the most important things, of course, are the Cajuns themselves. As I write this blog, the weather is beautiful here in Cajun Country. The trees are turning green, the flowers are in bloom, the water is warming so the alligators are surfacing, the egrets are happy birds because the crawfish are surfacing (and, man, do they love their crawfish. In fact, I believe just as much as the Cajuns do), and the beauty of the swamps this time of year, along with the wildlife, is spectacular (the hawks actually do make lazy circles in the sky). There are so many beautiful places right here in the United States but if you have never seen the swamps and bayous, you are really missing out. My suggestion is, that when you come to Louisiana, you make it a point to visit this wonderful area. You are in for a real treat. And don’t be in a hurry. You’ll miss some of the best features.
Besides this being such awonderful time of year because it’s spring, it’s also about Easter. As many of you may know, most Cajuns are deeply religious. They are mainly Catholic, Protestant or Evangelical. This means they celebrate this wonderful weekend, not only with festivities of tradition, it’s also one of the most holy celebrations in all of Christendom. It’s about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He died on a cross so that all mankind could live. However, it didn’t stop there. The best news is that He didn’t stay in the grave. On Easter morning He rose from that old tomb, He’s alive today, and is sitting next to the Father (Almighty God) praying for us. You see, He died because He loves us so much no matter what we have done. After all, if we were all so good He wouldn’t have had to endure the painful death on the cross. All it takes from us is to come to Him and tell Him what’s on our hearts and be real with Him. It’s so simple that no matter where we are in our lives we can do what He asks us to do…give Him our hearts…even someone like me. Should you want to know more, you’re welcome to contact me. He forgave me. I’m living proof (by the way, I still mess up a lot). When I feel guilty, He lets me know that I’m forgiven and that I’m His child and He never stops loving me. What more can anyone ask for. Trust me, the peace is beyond anything you can imagine…and, on top of that, we get to spend eternity with Him in heaven. It’s all so neat!\
Now, just how do the Cajuns in Southwest Louisiana celebrate Easter? Well, as I have mentioned before, they like their celebrations and parties and they are a true family-oriented people. On Good Friday they like their crawfish boils (a family and friends’ get together time). On Easter Sunday they have come to celebrate just like the rest of Christendom in America. They attend church. They color hard boiled eggs, have Easter egg hunts, the Easter bunny visits, the candy and Easter baskets have all become a part of their Easter celebrations. However, there is one old tradition they have kept over hundreds of years. It came over with them from Europe. It is a game called ‘paque’ (French for Easter). It’s played with eggs. Each person has a hardboiled egg. They tap their eggs together. The person whose egg doesn’t break is declared the winner and gets the other person’s egg. This keeps going until the last egg is standing. I met a lady, Paula, who told me that, as a little girl growing in a tiny town in Aoyelles Parish (Bordelonville), that they would go up and down the street with their eggs, hitting each other’s eggs. She told me how much fun they would have. To me holding onto some of these traditions helps keep happy memories alive.
Now, since this blog is really about cooking and recipes, let’s get on with some of what the Cajuns favorite meals are in Cajun Country. What do they serve? An Easter meal might include a Cajun Easter ham, Cajun rice dressing, smothered fried cabbage and sweet crust pie. These items are not chiseled in stone even though these foods are quite popular. One thing I do know is that, just like everything the Cajuns do, they do with their whole hearts and Easter is no exception.
Have a blessed and happy Easter celebration from everyone here at Cajun Country Recipes.
Frances Mills, Cajun Country Recipes, 103 S Elms Street, Welsh, Louisiana 70591