The sky was blue and the sun was bright, as hundreds of kids took part in what has become an annual tradition for Jersey City Heights, the Easter Parade followed by the Easter Egg Hunt on on Saturday, April 12, at Pershing Field, at Summit and Manhattan avenues.
Hunt is something of a misnomer, since city workers did little to hide the plastic eggs as kids with fingers folded through the fence waited in breathless anticipation for their chance to collect some.
“Five eggs to every child,” officials said over a PA system as the kids made their way onto the baseball field for a race that might have easily resembled the post-Civil War land rush by pioneers seeking to settle western United States.
“This is a really good turnout.” – Richard Boggiano
“This is a really good turnout,” said Councilman Richard Boggiano, who took part in the parade and the pre-hunt festivities.
Mayor Steven Fulop was supposed to appear, but was called away. But this was not an event for politicians, although this and the Washington Park Little League Parade that followed a short time later drew out a number of political figures, including former state Assemblyman Sean Connors, Freeholder Anthony Romano and others.
Like many traditions that surround the Christian holidays, the Easter Bunny has its roots in Celtic myth and the goddess of Spring, Eostre with her hare companion. Easter eggs and the Easter Bunny evolved out of spring rituals in honor of Eostre. Christian tradition maintains that Easter eggs represent Jesus’ emergence from the tomb and resurrection.
Colored eggs date back to the 13th century while the Easter Parade has roots in the early Christian Church, as a modified procession. Easter Candy in this tradition is the reward given after weeks of penance and fasting during lent prior to Easter.
Anglo-Saxons saw the air as a system of fertility and rebirth. Bringing in the end of winter, with the days brighter and growing longer after the vernal equinox, Eostre, sometimes called Ostara, had a passion for new life. Her arrival in the world brought the flowering plants and the birth of babies after a long winter.
This was particularly relevant on the first warm weekend most parents could remember, and this became very much a celebration of the rebirth of warmth in Jersey City Heights, kids running from attraction to attraction before their final race for eggs.
The Pershing Field Easter Egg Hunt also included a number of other activities such as the appearance of the Easter Bunny, face painting, balloon artists and kids’ rides.
The hunt itself was restricted to children ages 3 to 8, and was conducted in two groups, younger kids getting their chance first before the older kids made their grab for their share of the eggs. In addition to the egg hunt, children had a chance to take a photo with the Easter Bunny.
“This is what community is about,” Connors said during the event.
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.