Granddaughters continue Easter tradition
Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 5, 2015
A tradition is being passed down to two little girls in Vicksburg, but all they know right now is every Easter their Nana makes sure they have a brand new Easter dress and bonnet to match.
Elizabith and Madison Ramsey, the granddaughters of Cydnie Rowe and the daughters of Amanda and Matthew Ramsey, each year before Easter are presented with a dress and hat from their grandmother.
“They look forward to getting the hats and dresses,” Rowe said.
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Rowe said she started the tradition after the birth of Elizabith.
“I just decided to bring back the way it used to be when ladies wore hats. My great-grandmother wore hats, and when I was little, I wore hats to church,” Rowe said.
Elizabith and Madison wriggled around on the sofa in their grandmother’s house in anticipation of receiving their Easter finery.
“We’re surprised that we get new stuff every year,” Elizabith said.
Elizabith was referring to another of her grandmother’s traditions.
Rowe chooses a different color each year for the dresses and hats she gives her granddaughters.
“We just need to be colorful,” Rowe said.
“Jesus liked colors. That’s why he did the rainbow,” she said.
Last year, Rowe chose white for the girls to wear.
“She gave me an Easter dress last year that I really liked. I was surprised,” Madison said.
Rowe pointed to a picture displayed in her home with Elizabith and Madison dressed in their white dresses.
Precocious and outgoing, the sisters had no problems conversing even when their grandmother left the room to retrieve the hats and dresses.
Rowe returned with a grey garment bag. At first, Elizabith was worried the dresses were going to be the same color as the bag, but when her grandmother pulled the dresses out for them to see, both little girls gasped.
“Oh my God,” Madison said.
Rowe had chosen purple dresses for her granddaughters to wear this year, and it was obvious the sisters were pleased with their Nana’s selection.
After handing each of the girls their dresses, she gave them matching straw hats, which were also purple.
Madison plopped hers on her head immediately. She then stood up on the couch and began checking herself out in mirror above her grandmother’s sofa.
Rowe said she buys the Easter dresses and hats for Elizabith and Madison sometimes a year in advance.
“I found these dresses and hats last year,” she said.
“I get prepared because I never know when I might be sick or something,” she said.
“I have COPD, and I want to be sure my children are taken care of for the next year so there will be no problems,” Rowe said.
Also, Rowe constructs matching floral bouquets encircling a candle for the girls to carry.
“In our church we carry candles around since Christ has risen to light the way,” Rowe said.
Rowe said she and her granddaughters attend St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, in Vicksuburg.
As Elizabith and Madison modeled their new Easter outfits, Rowe changed into her Easter dress.
With a collection of more than 40 hats, Rowe will also be wearing a hat for Easter.
The hatsandveils.net website states that the history of wearing an Easter hat or bonnet dates back before Easter was celebrated. To symbolize the cycle of the seasons and the coming of spring, the website reports that women would wear a circle of leaves and flowers on their heads.
It was not until the early twentieth century that Americans became invested in the notion of wearing an Easter outfit and a hat according to www.pastemagazine.com. Beginning in the 1870’s, women would walk the streets of New York on Easter to show off their new spring clothes and Easter bonnets.
It was a movie that heightened the popularity of wearing an Easter bonnet.
In 1948, Judy Garland and Fred Astaire starred in Irving Berlin’s “Easter Parade,” and Garland sang the song with same title as the film with the lyrics, “In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it, You’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade.”