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Easter - Cultural Changes Within the Mohawk Valley

New York State has one of the highest Catholic populations in the United States. Part of our history was influenced by cultural mores of Catholicism that no longer exist. The Mohawk Valley surely had a strong Catholic influence. The past few decades have changed the cultural traditions that use to be a part of Easter and all major Christian Holidays.

When I grew up in Rome, Good Friday was taken very seriously. Besides holy obligations throughout the week, Good Friday meant that from Noon to Three, many families were expected to acknowledge Jesus's time on the cross. Children were expected to take time and be silent for 3 hours. (Can you imagine such an obligation today?)

Many businesses would have shortened days or close for the day. The banks would be respectful of the cultural setting of the time and close noon to three. If you failed to get your Easter bread, the bakeries were open on Saturday. Saturdays were usually normal however families would often attend multiple services based on a menu of services. There was an Easter Vigil late at night.

Sunday, everything was closed to honor Easter. No big box stores to fill in the gap. The city was shut down to acknowledge the holiday. In some ways, the past reflected reverence and celebration of the holiday. Lost in the traditions were the obligations of religious followers to spend time reflecting on the meaning of Easter.