A future cruiser had asked recently about celebrating holidays after you’ve left behind the familiar traditions at home. Was it good to plan ahead and bring packages with those unique specialties that are in tune with memories of how you usually celebrate?
We’ve had the chance to do a little of both, and with time and perspective, have found that what works for us is not to import the familiar (or dig it up from locker stash) but to create what is meaningful for you from what’s available.
At departure, our children’s ages (4, 6 and 9) put them smack in the heart of egg-hunting-chocolate-bunny-eating-Easter-basket-madness. We had some very specific rituals and accessories. But when we left, we didn’t bring any of the usual Easter accoutrements with us, in part because we assumed the basics would be available in Mexico. Not so much, as it turned out!
Our first Mexican Easter was in the coastal town of San Blas. Few gringos and definitely no Paas dye kits. We found veggies in town to make our own dyes with, Mexican chocolate treats, held an egg hunt on board and didn’t feel the least bit deprived.
The second year, friends brought good ol’ bright colored store-bought kits down from the States. We were in the marina in La Cruz with a herd of other prospective “jumpers,” getting ready to take off for our Pacific crossing. Easter would actually fall a few days after cast off, so there was a celebration for the kids during the week prior to departure. Lots of fun, to be sure. More familiar, more like Easter at home.
It sounded like such a great idea at the time. But- it missed something. In hindsight, I realized how much I loved our previous improvised holiday. Learning to appreciate how much we could make our own fun by working with what was on hand, to give a holiday the color and vibration of the place we find ourselves.
Our Australian Easters have been on the theme. Our first Aussie Easter was among our marina friends from Sydney. Let me tell you: Oz Easter is all about the chocolate bunnies. Forget the peeps and the jellybeans. It’s CHOCOLATE. I think every one of the half dozen boats brought our children chocolate bunnies. No deprivation there!
This year we anchored off Moreton Island with our friends on Ceilydh and Oso Blanco. There aren’t egg dye kits in Oz, either, so we’re back to the purple cabbage, tumeric, and onion skins to color ours. Our “dinosaur” eggs were hidden in the scrub of the island nearby, in a sandy saddle that felt like a tropical fairy dell. And we had chocolate bunnies… lots of bunnies. That evening, a combined feast brought together our traditions…roasted leg of lamb, and a big wreath of Italian egg bread.
Sitting back with our cruising friends, we came up with a rough rule of thumb. Sabbatical cruisers, who are working in a finite window of time for their adventures afloat, are more likely to have a Paas kit in the bilge, a favorite flavor of cake mix stashed in the provisions. On a more open ended path like ours, that planning and stowing isn’t practical and falls to the side compared with other priorities. I think it’s a gift: we open our selves to find the core of the holiday from our own traditions, and the best of what ever country we claim guest status has to share to broaden our experience…