If this were 1950, you’d know your local Trader Joe’s would have been closed for business Easter Sunday. In fact, it would have been closed for business every Sunday in compliance with “blue laws.” The term refers to legislation prohibiting the conduct of business on religious holidays, including Sundays, which is the Christian Sabbath.
In the movements now in progress in the United States to secure for the institutions and usages of the church the support of the state, Protestants are following in the steps of papists. Nay, more, they are opening the door for the papacy to regain in Protestant America the supremacy which she has lost in the Old World. And that which gives greater significance to this movement is the fact that the principal object contemplated is the enforcement of Sunday observance—a custom which originated with Rome, and which she claims as the sign of her authority. It is the spirit of the papacy—the spirit of conformity to worldly customs, the veneration for human traditions above the commandments of God—that is permeating the Protestant churches and leading them on to do the same work of Sunday exaltation which the papacy has done before them. GC 573.1
Blue laws date back to medieval Europe, wherein religion and religious beliefs dictated most facets of everyday life (via Lords and Ladies), and the only accepted religion was Christianity. When European colonists arrived here, they brought the blue laws with them, and at their most restrictive, those laws prohibited not only the conduct of business but the doing of basically anything that might in any way interfere with spending Sunday in church (via Middle Tennessee State University). That may have included hunting, watering your lawn, and wearing certain clothing that might be deemed inappropriate for church-going.
As much as blue laws may promote religion in a nation purporting to separate religion and government, the Supreme Court ruled them constitutional in 1960. To this day, 28 states enforce blue laws of one kind or another they typically don’t restrict grocery stores from operating, although some states don’t sell alcohol on Sundays (via World Population Review). So whether and to what extent your local Trader Joe’s will be open on Easter Sunday will, for the most part, reflect Trader Joe’s corporate policy.
If the reader would understand the agencies to be employed in the soon-coming contest, he has but to trace the record of the means which Rome employed for the same object in ages past. If he would know how papists and Protestants united will deal with those who reject their dogmas, let him see the spirit which Rome manifested toward the Sabbath and its defenders.
Royal edicts, general councils, and church ordinances sustained by secular power were the steps by which the pagan festival attained its position of honor in the Christian world. The first public measure enforcing Sunday observance was the law enacted by Constantine. (A.D. 321; see Appendix note for page 53.) This edict required townspeople to rest on “the venerable day of the sun,” but permitted countrymen to continue their agricultural pursuits. Though virtually a heathen statute, it was enforced by the emperor after his nominal acceptance of Christianity.
The royal mandate not proving a sufficient substitute for divine authority, Eusebius, a bishop who sought the favor of princes, and who was the special friend and flatterer of Constantine, advanced the claim that Christ had transferred the Sabbath to Sunday. Not a single testimony of the Scriptures was produced in proof of the new doctrine. Eusebius himself unwittingly acknowledges its falsity and points to the real authors of the change. “All things,” he says, “whatever that it was duty to do on the Sabbath, these we have transferred to the Lord’s Day.”—Robert Cox, Sabbath Laws and Sabbath Duties, page 538. But the Sunday argument, groundless as it was, served to embolden men in trampling upon the Sabbath of the Lord. All who desired to be honored by the world accepted the popular festival. GC 573.2 – GC 574.2
Trader Joe’s will probably be open on Easter Sunday
You can’t buy a car on Easter Sunday in Nevada, Illinois, or Minnesota, among others, per World Population Review. Clothing and furniture can’t be sold on that day in Bergen County, New Jersey. But in virtually every state you can shop for groceries on any given Sunday, including Easter (albeit not necessarily for any wine you might need). However, before you decide to wait until the last minute to head on over to Trader Joe’s to purchase whatever it is you might need for your holiday dinner, you’ll want to bear in mind that just because your Trader Joe’s isn’t prohibited by law from opening on Easter Sunday, doesn’t mean it will be open.
That being said, Trader Joe’s should remain open and available for its customers on Easter Sunday. It has a long history of doing so, with the exception of 2020, when it gave its employees a “much-needed day of rest,” per ABC11. Trader Joe’s has not made any statement this year that its grocery stores will not be open on Easter Sunday throughout the U.S. As reported by Delish and Good Housekeeping, TraderJoe’s will be open on Easter Sunday, and likely during its normal business hours. It never hurts to call or check in with your local store as well.
As the papacy became firmly established, the work of Sunday exaltation was continued. For a time the people engaged in agricultural labor when not attending church, and the seventh day was still regarded as the Sabbath. But steadily a change was effected. Those in holy office were forbidden to pass judgment in any civil controversy on the Sunday. Soon after, all persons, of whatever rank, were commanded to refrain from common labor on pain of a fine for freemen and stripes in the case of servants. Later it was decreed that rich men should be punished with the loss of half of their estates; and finally, that if still obstinate they should be made slaves. The lower classes were to suffer perpetual banishment.
Miracles also were called into requisition. Among other wonders it was reported that as a husbandman who was about to plow his field on Sunday cleaned his plow with an iron, the iron stuck fast in his hand, and for two years he carried it about with him, “to his exceeding great pain and shame.”—Francis West, Historical and Practical Discourse on the Lord’s Day, page 174.
Later the pope gave directions that the parish priest should admonish the violators of Sunday and wish them to go to church and say their prayers, lest they bring some great calamity on themselves and neighbors. An ecclesiastical council brought forward the argument, since so widely employed, even by Protestants, that because persons had been struck by lightning while laboring on Sunday, it must be the Sabbath. “It is apparent,” said the prelates, “how high the displeasure of God was upon their neglect of this day.” An appeal was then made that priests and ministers, kings and princes, and all faithful people “use their utmost endeavors and care that the day be restored to its honor, and, for the credit of Christianity, more devoutly observed for the time to come.”—Thomas Morer, Discourse in Six Dialogues on the Name, Notion, and Observation of the Lord’s Day, page 271.
The decrees of councils proving insufficient, the secular authorities were besought to issue an edict that would strike terror to the hearts of the people and force them to refrain from labor on the Sunday. At a synod held in Rome, all previous decisions were reaffirmed with greater force and solemnity. They were also incorporated into the ecclesiastical law and enforced by the civil authorities throughout nearly all Christendom. (See Heylyn, History of the Sabbath, pt. 2, ch. 5, sec. 7.)
Still the absence of Scriptural authority for Sundaykeeping occasioned no little embarrassment. GC 574.3 – GC 576.1