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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Students reflect on Easter observations with communities new and old

Tanner Nalley | Staff Photographer
Students indulge in Easter candy ahead of the holiday.

Eggs, Mass and nature are all part of students’ Easter celebrations this year.

For many, the Christian holiday marks the day Jesus was resurrected and involves celebrations like extended family trips to Mass and Easter egg hunts. Despite being miles from home, GW students are finding ways to celebrate Easter with their new D.C. family.

“Easter is definitely a holiday about family and being together and celebrating whatever Easter means to you,” first-year Jorey Reyes said. “And for my family, that’s God.”

Reyes, an international affairs major, said she is making an effort to celebrate this Easter in D.C. because she is unable to travel to see her family in Illinois. Traditionally, Reyes would get together with her relatives to eat an Easter cake decorated to look like a lamb. Reyes said the cake symbolizes Jesus, the sacrificial lamb of God, a reminder of what her family celebrates during Easter.

Reyes said she plans to attend mass at St. Stephen Martyr Catholic Church in Foggy Bottom. She added that mom mailed her an Easter basket, likely filled with her favorite candy eggs and jellybeans, which she promised to open Easter Sunday. Reyes said she planned to have brunch with her friends Sunday.

“I also think that as I meet more people who celebrate Easter, maybe we’ll develop new traditions,” Reyes said.

Elizabeth Snyder, a sophomore majoring in environmental science and entrepreneurship, said she wasn’t able to visit her family in Kansas City, Missouri, this year for Easter. When she was growing up, Snyder would decorate eggs the night before and then spend Easter Sunday hunting for the painted gems. Snyder said she will observe Easter with her community at Passion City Church on U Street.

“When I think of Easter, I think of, obviously, what it’s meant to be,” she said. “So I thought a lot of God, of Jesus, but church is really the only way I felt that I could spend time with God.”

She said this year, she planned to visit Dumbarton Oaks Gardens after church to pick up some coffee and walk around the gardens.

“When I also think of Easter, I also think of flowers,” Snyder said.

Fernanda Arber, a sophomore member of GW Catholics, said her Easter arrangements involve a little taste of D.C. and home. She said she planned to head home to Maryland later in the week after celebrating Holy Week at GW — including meals and programming for the observance of Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday and Good Friday.

Arber said the Newman Center, which hosted the programming and is the hub for GW Catholics, allows her to connect with people who share the same faith.  

“It’s really nice to have the people that you can rely on with their faith lives,” she said.

Arber said spending time with community is her cornerstone of celebrating Easter.

“Community is just a great way to feel love,” Arber said. “I think on Easter, that’s especially important. That day, we celebrate the resurrection of Christ. Without it, the Christian faith really has no foundation. That’s a very meaningful day for our faith and getting to spend it with the people you love.”

Aline Asarian, a junior majoring in public health, said she is celebrating Easter for the first time without her family this year, opting to stay in D.C. instead of going home to Long Island, New York.

Coming from an Armenian Orthodox family where Easter is a key celebration, Asarian said she cherishes her holiday traditions like dyeing eggs and playing a game called egg-knocking from Romania, where each person cracks a hard-boiled egg against someone else’s egg. She said after the game they all eat their eggs together.

“Each person picks an egg, and you say, ‘Happy Easter,’ and then you have to crack one on top of the other,” Asarian said. “And then the person whose egg cracks is the loser, and you go around until someone is the winner.”

She said planned to attend a sunrise Easter celebration at the Lincoln Memorial or a late morning mass at St. Stephen Martyr Catholic Church. She said attending these celebrations alone instead of with her family would be a change for her.

“We usually go to Mass and eat together,” Asarian said. “So this year is gonna be different for me.”

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