We have many traditions surrounding the Easter Triduum, most importantly attending the Holy Thursday Mass, Good Friday service, and—when babies and life situations allow it—attending the Holy Saturday Easter Vigil.
We have a story to tell, however, surrounding this year's Good Friday efforts: At about 2:40 pm, the kids and I hopped in the van to head to church for the 3:15 Good Friday service. We were to meet Joe at St. Patrick's downtown. No sooner did I have the kids buckled in the van than the UPS truck pulled up right behind us on our driveway pad. We were stuck there until he could deliver the package and move on. Well, little did we know what was in store. In this winter that has still not ended (we're well over 100" of snow for the year now), Good Friday was snowy and icy. The UPS man managed to get stuck on our driveway, right outside our garage door. Despite the very flat topography of our driveway at that point, the combo of ice and very wet snow kept his tires spinning. After a good fifteen minutes of effort, he put chains on the tires and managed to get off the driveway pad, but proceeded to get again stuck on the asphalt part of the driveway just a little farther down (still keeping us home-bound). He did the whole thing over again—rocking back and forth, finally trying chains. When he got out of the truck to put on the chains, he asked where we were headed. When I told him, he responded that he wouldn't advise it, as the road in front of our house was nearly as bad as our driveway. At that moment, my cell phone rang. It was Joe calling to report that he'd been driving around the church for twenty minutes, unable to find a parking spot for his little Saturn, due to limitations on street parking in the wake of the snow. He felt that we'd have a very difficult time finding parking anywhere nearby for our big passenger van and would have to walk many blocks with five kids in the icy, biting snow that was still coming down. I looked at my watch and did a quick mental calculation: Although the UPS man was now out of our driveway, his predicament had kept us stuck at home for nearly a half hour. The Good Friday service was starting in five minutes, and we live a half hour away. With the reportedly bad roads and the parking difficulties, we knew we could end up being an hour late for church. I made the executive call and had the kids unbuckle and head inside. We set up our Stations of the Cross in the family room and prayed them together, read all the Good Friday readings together, and sang the Stabat Mater. Needless to say, we tried.
Our Triduum also involves food traditions. On Good Friday, we make hot cross buns, to be served on Holy Saturday morning. On Holy Saturday (after eating hot cross buns) we color Easter eggs and start making dishes to be served on Easter. Among the photos below you'll see egg-coloring photos and the fruits of our labor with regard to one of our Easter desserts. You'll also see ear-to-ear grins on the kids. After six weeks of Lenten sacrifices (including a moratorium on sweets), Holy Saturday is great fun for the kids, and the Easter anticipation is almost overwhelming.