Family traditions are very much a part of life in Ireland. In recent years these traditions have begun to fade thanks to the modern world and the technology it has brought. Fortunately I come from a family where tradition is very much at the core of family life. And Easter is the time when it shines!
For almost 50 years now, my family have been meeting on Easter Sunday and having their annual get together. Originally it was a cosy cup of tea (out of a bottle) down by a rock in the ground near my mothers homestead. Over the years the family has grown (and continues to grow) and the tradition lives on, and the get together gets bigger. The Lafferty clan congregate at the homestead every Easter Sunday and a large family party takes place. This party needs NO alcohol and NO technology. It just needs family and fun!Easter Fire
My mother and her twin sister are the eldest in a family of 11. My sister is the eldest of 48 grandchildren. My son is the eldest of 30+ great-grandchildren. Everyone makes the effort to get home for Easter and this annual gathering. Unfortunately this year a number of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren (including my eldest son) are around the world and unable to make the trip back. However each and every one of them will be in contact and will be very much part of the day.
Young and old will gather and have a catch up. A football match will take place throughout Sunday afternoon where rules are left behind and chaos prevails. The Easter fire will be lit, and eggs will boil. The night will fall and the family will remain. Granny, Grandad and Uncle Philip will be very close in everyone’s mind. They’ll never be gone as long as this family keeps meeting.100_2631
This gathering is about memories…both past and future. We continue to make new memories with each new year.
Like myself, most others just show up on the day and the party begins. We take it for granted. We look forward to it all year. My youngest son (16) said recently that ‘you’re never too big for Tullynavin’. How true his words are. No one ever outgrows it. But sometimes we do fail to recognise just how much work goes into the organisation and preparation of the day.
Uncle Brian allows all and sundry to use his garden as a football pitch. Yvonne allows us all to use her house. There’s a welcome for everyone.100_3799
But there’s one other person who simply makes the day. He must shop for months prior to Easter Sunday. He doesn’t only arrive with food, drinks, sweets, eggs, chocolate, prizes etc for 100+ people, but he arrives with enough energy to carry everyone through the day. Sometimes just listening to him and watching him, leaves you exhausted! Sometimes he annoys the hell out of you (all in the name of fun) and sometimes he kicks you up the ass to do your bit. He is the life and soul of the day.
He is the hero the little kids look up to. He is the heart of Easter Sunday. He is in fact the heart of the family. He is the heart of the tradition which continues to grow with each new year. He is the one who will tell you you’ve got old looking! The one who tells you your hair isn’t great. He’s the one who’ll tell you you’ve put on a lot of weight (in fact he’ll tell you you’re fat). He’s the one you couldn’t dislike if you tried. He’s the one who gets on your nerves before Easter Sunday is out. He’s the one who drives us all mad throughout the day. He’s the one who thinks he’s the best looking in the family (god love him!). And he’s the one we sometimes forget to say ‘Thank You’ to!100_2643
Uncle Packie, this is just a little ‘Thank You’ from all your nieces and nephews, and all your great nieces and nephews. A humble ‘Thank You’ will never suffice for all that you’ve done for us. But look on it as a start. And thanks for keeping the family so in touch with each other. We may not be the richest family in the world, but the wealth of love and respect that is among us is beyond the worlds riches combined. Cheers Packie, and here’s to the forthcoming Easter Sunday which is just a few days away. It’s gona be yet another good ‘un!