Oh, magnificent March, with you comes Spring! Except this year, it seems as if you are giving Fall a do over! I suppose March's one redeeming quality this year is that she brings us Easter. Easter, a holiday where kids eagerly await Peter Cottontail's arrival. Days leading up to Easter are usually filled with making arrangements to gather with friends and family, creating the day's menu, filling up brightly colored Easter baskets with toys and sweets for the young ones (and the young and heart), and of course, the time honored tradition of coloring eggs. I have very fond memories as a child of coloring eggs with my sister. Ah, the smell of vinegar! We would see who could create the most colorful and unique patterns on our eggs, all the while staining our fingers and clothes, and sometimes furniture, with food coloring. So, the question that begs to be asked is, "What does a vegan do when it come to coloring eggs for Easter?" Oh, the dilemma. No one wants to deprive themselves or their children of the fun, joy, and creativity that goes along with coloring eggs. What to do?
Well, I found a solution. I reached out to my good friend, Keith Allison. Keith has been a vegan since October 2, 2011, vegetarian since January 1998. Keith has three wonderful sons, Spencer, Brady, and Elliott. I asked Keith what he and his boys do in regards to coloring eggs for Easter sans the eggs. Here is Keith's story:
"Coloring Easter eggs was a fun tradition in my family. The bright colors, the unique designs, the time of sharing and sitting together. But, what do you do when you discover that purchasing eggs isn't compassionate? How do you move past de-beaking, cramped cages, the mass infanticide of male chicks who can never produce eggs - using others for our pleasure?"
Keith's solution to this dilemma is not only creative, but, allows the tradition of coloring Easter eggs to remain an activity that all can enjoy. So, what is this new twist on an old tradition? Well, I won't keep you in suspense! This is Keith's account of what he and his boys did last year when they celebrated Easter through "compassionate coloring:"
"Last year, my boys and I had all of the fun of coloring without making any sacrifices in our desire to cause no harm. We collected rocks from my mother's yard. We had never walked around collecting eggs in past years, so this actually enhanced the process by adding a fun, new step. We still sat at the table, this time with paint instead of food coloring, and put our colorful designs onto our Easter rocks. In addition, my mom had purchased some wooden eggs, and we painted those as well. We laughed, we shared, we celebrated; and we stayed true to our compassion. This year, we can pull out last year's collection and add to it. We'll proudly display our colorful, compassionate creations."
So, there you have it, an Easter tradition with a new twist! Just because one is vegan does not mean that you have to forgo tradition to remain true to your values. Rather than mourn the lose of a tradition, celebrate with your loved ones a new tradition that better represents your values and beliefs. Most importantly, whether you and yours paint the traditional Easter eggs, Easter rocks, or wooden Easter eggs, what truly matters is the love you share with those you love and cherish.
Before I bring this blog post to a close I must talk about food. If you don't feel like making yourself a huge vegan spread for your Easter dinner, or if you are traveling to someone's home for Easter dinner and you don't want to be left protectively hovering over the veggie platter and hummus - no fear, I have good news for you. This week at Ms. Julie's Kitchen there will be (along with other tasty items) available for purchase: cabbage rolls, cheesy potatoes, and strawberry cupcakes - all vegan of course. The strawberry cupcakes are scrumptious. Talk about happy tastebuds!
I wish everyone a wonderful Easter filled with the love and laughter of friends and family.
* A special THANK YOU to Keith Allison for sharing his story of an Easter tradition with a twist.
For information about the modern egg industry please click here.