We love Easter, and not just for the chocolate eggs. It’s the shiny newness of the coast and countryside. It’s the fabulous events that take place all over Wales. It’s the weather, which has been unseasonably brilliant for years in a row. And the dancing cows, obviously…
Here are five things we love about spending Easter in Wales.
There’s a newness to everything. As the last traces of snow clear from the mountains, it’s as if winter has scrubbed them clean. It’s the same with the coastline: the cliffs and beaches are fresh from the winter storms, a blank canvas waiting for a picture to be painted.
The trees are at their greenest, bird song is at its noisiest. The daffodils are in full blaze, the hedgerows and woodlands are enjoying a first flush of colour, and May’s wild garlic and bluebells are on their way. Even the cities are looking somehow shinier and more come-and-get-me.
It’s different every year
Easter is what is called a ‘moveable feast’. It can happen any time from late March to late April. This year it's late in April. Now that you know this, you can join in conversations with old ladies at bus stops.
This also means that the holidays feel different every year. Early Easters are about woolly jumpers, bracing walks and a hot bowl of cawl. Late Easters can involve sandcastles, suntans and a dip in the sea (without a wetsuit, if you’re rock-hard). One thing we’ve noticed: in recent years, the weather has been fantastic during the Easter hols. Easter is the new summer, apparently.
Finding new places
There’s something about the ‘newness’ feel that makes us want to try new places, new experiences. One year we stayed in a converted cowshed near Llandegfan, and mucked around on empty beaches around Anglesey. Another time we hired a canal boat on the Monmouthshire & Brecon canal, and spent a weekend pootling through the foothills of the Brecon Beacons. This year the kids are itching to climb Cader Idris, so we’ll probably do something west-coasty. For the summer holidays, like migrating swallows, we’ll return to our favourite haunts in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire. But at Easter – well, it’s the season of discovery.
There’s tons to do
Easter is the holiday industry’s first major hurrah, where everyone sets out their stall for the season ahead, so there are family events and activities wherever you go. Some involve traditional Easter paraphernalia of bunnies and eggs. Others make the most of the natural world, because nature is its busiest right now. And, just so we don’t entirely forget, it’s the most important time of year for our cathedrals, churches and chapels, so there’s plenty going on there, too.
The cows go crazy
Really. When I was growing up on a farm in Carmarthenshire, the best moment of the farming calendar was the spring day when our dairy cows were let out into the fields after the long winter spent indoors. It’s a joyous sight: they go utterly berserk, the entire herd of perhaps 100 cows, bucking and cavorting, even the old dears with huge, baggy udders. They all soon calm down and get on with grazing, but it’s lovely while it lasts.
It’s the same with children in the Easter holidays. It’s the first decent break since Christmas, and when they’re released from the captivity of school and short winter days, they just want to get out and cavort somewhere. Which is exactly where you’ll find me and my family this Easter. Out and about. Cavorting.