I have a particular problem with easter.
Oh, long time readers will know I have problems with several holiday. One might take this all to mean I’m just a sort of joyless, curmudgeonly bastard.
And I guess that’s a little right.
But generally my objections have more to do with the general pointlessness of american holidays than they do with the idea of holidays in general.
BUt my problem with easter is a bit different than my issue with, say, st patrick’s day (a day for those who aren’t irish to celebrate irishness), or valentines day (a day where love is celebrated by those who have no idea what love is about).
My feelins about easter have less to do with meaning than with lack therof.
MY family were, like me, staunch atheists. We profoundly and strongly believed in a purely physical universe, one without gods or demons. For us, holidays were meaningful only in that they were cultural events, and celebrations were enjoyable for the simple pleasure of ritual.
When I was a child, waking on easter morning to find a carefully composed basket filled with chocolate eggs and minor toys was more about the break from routine than in was about deeper meaning. Once I was old enough to have figured out there was no mystical egg-laying bunny, the pleasures had more to do with my parent’s inventiveness in basket composition than it had to do magical wonder or reverence. I had absolutely no idea, when I was a child, that easter had anything to do with jesus; at that age, I don’t think I even had a clear idea of who jesus was, other than that it had something to do with god.
Unfortunately, once the basket-bringer stopped being mysterious, the holiday degenerated into a simple opportunity for aquisition. It was about getting something. Which is when my p[arents stopped it.
It wasn’t a big deal; the sort of gifts we got were on the order of mouse-sized plus animals, inexpensive chinese teacups, pocket-knives, or small plastic animals. So when we started to ask for things, presenting easter wish lists, my parents rightly decided we’d outgrown the whole thing.
Once I was beyond childhood – and i mean childhood in the sense of, too young to really grasp things in the universe, not in the modern sense of ‘under 18 – I was too old for easter baskets and bunnies.
My the time my age was in double digits, easter was a day when everything seemed to be closed, and when my brother and father crammed themselves with sees buttercream eggs until they were nautious.
The day was meaningless.
Later, when I had the puzzling realization that people, commonly, actually believed in god, jesus and various things saintly, it occurred to me that easter could possibly have some meaning beyond eggs and rabbits and baskets full of minor toys.
IT’s been odd, however, watching as my kids grow up, and my frineds