Coming from a non-religious household, the holidays have always held little meaning outside of our own family’s traditions. While some holidays held more meaning than others, Easter never really made sense or received much attention in our house.
Christmas was commercialized, with Santa always wishing to know what we wanted and presents wrapped under the tree. The whole season built up to the big gift exchange and a feast with the extended family, which I dreaded. It was always too loud, and all everyone talked about was what they got from Santa and how much they ate and drank. There was a gratuitous amount of overindulgence, with the true meaning of Christmas never once being mentioned.
Thanksgiving just involved eating pie and turkey and getting together to celebrate my stepfather’s and my birthdays, which both fall around the Thanksgiving weekend.
St. Patrick’s Day was never really acknowledged, except for the two years I went out for drinks with friends in my early 20s.
Cupid fluttered infrequently, but when he did it was store-bought boxes of mass-produced chocolates, chocolates wrapped in red foil, or long-stemmed red roses with the tag still attached.
Easter, though, never made sense to me. The other holidays had their origins more upfront in their celebrations, such as the nativity scene, the image of pilgrims at their fall feast, and the tradition of breaking the Irish Catholic Lenten fast with drinks. Cupid and St. Valentine were both major proponents of love, but the Easter Bunny? Delivering eggs?
All of the other holidays were also commercialized. Although they had religious ties, they had been marketed brilliantly. With Easter though, what are they selling? And what is with the bunnies, chocolate, and eggs? Why so many symbols of fertility during the weekend of Jesus’ death and resurrection? And why egg hunts for children?
For the life of me, I can never figure out when Easter is each year without flipping ahead in the calendar. Each year, I’m always surprised and say, “Wait… THIS is the Easter long weekend?!” and then proceed to forget the Easter part of the long weekend.
When we were kids, my mother organized little egg hunts for my brother and me, only for us to eat the candy as fast as we could and moan over our tummy aches. My mother would then make a ham, mashed potatoes, and a vegetable of some kind for supper. That was the extent of our Easter time as a family. My brother and I would then leave for our friends’ homes for the rest of the weekend. But that all faded out quickly. My mother was never a stickler for an Easter family gathering. At a certain point, the holiday seemed to cease to exist. The Easter long weekend became more of an indicator of spring than anything.
As I got older, the only time I celebrated Easter was if a more religious friend and their family invited me over for dinner. Being a sucker for copious amounts of free food, I would never pass up the opportunity, even if it meant sitting through a mini Easter service at the table. While others would have their heads bowed and eyes closed, I would be eyeing up the dishes, seeing what was for dessert before I grabbed the main courses to make sure I saved the appropriate amount of room.
I could take or leave Easter. The meal and the candy are nice, but to be fair, if someone organized a candy hunt and meal in the middle of August, I would be just as happy as I am when I get invited to an Easter dinner.