Easter gardening: Good Friday spuds, new clothes and Easter bonnets

Now that the long Easter weekend is nearly here, there should be plenty of time to get out into the garden as well as enjoying eggs, buns and rabbits with family and friends. Gardeners are very likely to be getting onto the soil to perform traditional Good Friday jobs like planting potatoes. According to some, this tradition comes from the idea that spuds planted on Good Friday were “Baptised” overcoming any restriction on eating a food not mentioned in the Bible. Others believe planting on Good Friday afforded protection from the devil who wouldn’t be able to blight the crop! Other commentators put this potato planting date down to the tradition of gardening by the moon, and the fact that Good Friday is always a good day in the lunar cycle to plant root crops.

Whatever the weather this Easter weekend, gardeners will also be celebrating the start of longer days and spring flowers by sowing packets of seeds themselves or perhaps even buying new plants from nurseries and garden centres.

The celebration of spring flowers is another Easter favourite, taken from the tradition of many European cultures where women herald spring by wearing flowers in their hair and hats, this is the origin of Easter bonnets. This celebration of flowers signifying the birth of a new year combined with British and north European traditions of wearing new clothes at Easter, again as a mark of renewal, carried the idea of Easter bonnets across to the States where they have become a really important feature of American Easter parades. As an 18th century almanac writer put it:

“At Easter let your clothes be new

Or else be sure you will it rue”

This idea that you might be followed by bad luck if you didn’t have something new to wear lasted well into the 19th century.

Brilliant! Another great reason to turn towards the Genus shop and ensure that the new item of Easter clothing is one of ours!