Eastertide is a season, not just one day, as anyone belonging to a liturgical tradition is aware. So if it happens to be past Easter Sunday when you’re reading this, you’re still good. It’s still seasonal. And it’s a great story to read any time of year, anyway.
So how did Dracula—the historical Dracula, that is, Vlad III, nicknamed Tepes or “the Impaler”—celebrate Easter in 1457? He threw a big dinner party, at his palace at Targoviste, for his friends, the Boyars, as the nobles of Wallachia were known. These Boyars hadn’t exactly treated Dracula’s family well. They’d had Vlad’s father, Vlad II Dracul, assassinated, and Vlad’s older brother, Mircea, who would rightfully have been expected to take the throne after his father, was blinded and buried alive. It’s hard to believe that Vlad would be so forgiving of those who’d so mistreated his family—and he wasn’t. The Boyars really ought to have skipped that dinner party.
After they’d partaken of the food offered, Dracula had all the Boyars arrested. Those he deemed incapable of strenuous work he had impaled. The rest—men, women, and children—he sent to the ruined castle at Poenari and forced them to rebuild it. They worked, as the accounts say, until the clothes fell from their bodies. Poenari would become the true “Castle Dracula” and Vlad would go on to forge a reputation as someone whose bad side one did not want to get upon.