Saturday morning saw a change in routine for several thousand children from Santa Clara and the surrounding communities. Cartoons, and morning schedules, would take a back seat as April 4 was the City of Santa Clara’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt. The event has become a tradition not just for the city itself, but for the participants.
Divided into areas for specific age ranges, as well as a special needs area, the fields were dotted with plastic eggs. As anticipation grew, the children prepared to launch themselves into the short-lived pandemonium as the countdown neared zero. But the 5-6 year olds took it a step further. As former Mayor and City Councilmember Pat Mahan announced, “When I say, go,” the 5-6 year olds broke through the lines. The noise from the children breaking rank grew from a low rumble to a crescendo of cries of excitement and for some disappointment in a “hunt” that lasted less than 45 seconds. Once the field was wiped clean of any semblance of plastic eggs, the victorious children plied up their loot while their parents attempted to hold them back.
Showing the Easter Egg hunt has crossed not just generational, but cultural boundaries as well, familiar disputes were expressed in a variety of languages. “No! I only ate two! It’s not fair!” screamed a child, partly in English and partly in Japanese, in response to her parents’ insistence that enough was enough and too much candy had already been consumed.
Besides just candy and prizes inside the plastic eggs, tradition is also a factor in the continued success of the two year-old hunt. Katalea, 2, from Santa Clara, came with her grandmother, Alicia. “I brought my kids to this and now I’m bringing my granddaughter,” she said. “The second generation of my family to come to the Easter Egg hunt. It’s a tradition.”
After the hunt was over, hundreds waited in line for a chance to sit on the lap of the Easter Bunny and to have a picture taken. Parents whiled away the time with their smart phones, while their children grew even more restless over the wait. “Wait for what?” asked one child. Only when they got closer were they able to see the source of the wait – the Easter Bunny. But not all children were up for it. One five-year old girl refused to get any closer than six feet from the unfamiliar character dressed in white, protesting in a mix of Mandarin and English. No matter how much her mother cajoled, the child steadfastly refused.
But that wasn’t the case with all children. Elle, 4, from Santa Clara explained it was her first time. “There are so many people,” she said. “It was fun to sit on the Easter Bunny’s lap.” Her father explained they’ve been in Santa Clara for six months after arriving from Sweden. The look of wonderment and excitement in Elle’s eyes told the story – the Easter Bunny was real and everything about the day had been worth the effort.