My stand on Easter

12:53 PM

If you have been reading me for a while you know I love Christmas and the holiday spirit that goes with it, but I never mentioned a thing about Easter in the nearly 8 years I have been keeping this blog, and there is actually a good reason for that: I haven’t celebrated Easter in ages, and probably NEVER in any religious sort of way.
In Switzerland, Easter is pretty much one of these non-avoidable thing, they start selling chocolate eggs and chocolate bunnies at least a month if not more in advance, because culturally it’s a Christian country. In my family I can’t even remember us making to any of the Easter church service, I remember a few Christmas ones (though never on Christmas day itself) but none for Easter, see my family is Christian by default but really not religious at all. I think I’m the first that claimed my “right to religious freedom” at age 16 and asked my parents to stop sending me to the mandatory religious class that leads to communion at 18, and asked them to stop filling my school papers with “Christian-protestant” and put “no religion” instead, I re-stated that clause when I was 18 when I filled my own paper as a legal adult, and even wrote to the church to stop sending me pamphlets asking them to respect my choice of faith (which they did).
I do believe in a supreme being, I just hate labels, and think religion is one of these things I don’t want to be bothered with. I had people question my celebrating Christmas considering how I felt about about Christianity, the truth is that it is also a pagan festival, it celebrates the solstice, and in my family it’s a family event of sharing, and re-connecting, coming together and having fun more than it is anything else, which is why this holiday gets a special place in my heart.
Since moving to India I attach the same value to it, it’s about being with those you love, friends and family alike, sharing good food and good spirit and celebrating cooler more pleasant days.
Easter on the other hand leaves me at loss, I vaguely remember going on a egg hunt at my grand ma’s place, she would hid chocolate goodies and bunnies all around her garden for me, my cousin and my sister to find. My mom would make us colour some eggs that would then stay in the fridge for ages because we didn’t eat that many, and it was just another family gathering with no magic associated to it, there wasn’t the anticipation of exchanging little gifts, or playing bingo at my maternal grand ma’s place, there was no carolling in front of a tree, it seemed more like an excuse to get into a family gathering and eat pretty ordinary looking food around an ordinary table, something adults might have enjoyed I assumed as a kid. I grew up and found myself on the adult side and found out I didn’t really enjoy it much, it was that weekend we had to go get together and eat some roast ham or pork chops, served with an aspic straight from a 50’s cookbook, would get a chocolate egg just because you know it’s Easter and then that was it, turns out that Easter was more fun as a kid after all, because of all the chocolate you get and the egg hunt. And yes in the early years the Easter Bunny as well, this mysterious figure that had no face in Switzerland (but learned later has one in the US). The eggs and rabbits are actually pagan symbols associated with Spring and the spring Equinox, a promise of fertile time and re-birth of the Earth after Winter, which frankly makes far more sense to celebrate to me than the death and resurrection of the Christ (Christians please take no offense here, I respect your beliefs, they just don’t make sense to me and do not speak to me on a personal level). Back in Switzerland I would celebrate Spring by going out on long walks and go cycling in the country side and that was more than enough, so was going out with friends and enjoy the first drinks out on the terrace of a cafe.
So it comes as no surprise that I don’t celebrate Easter in India, not even now that I have a daughter, simply because I can’t really relate or associate with this particular festival in anyway, and because celebrating Spring in India is done with holi and is much more fun, finding fertilty symbols like bunnies and eggs to celebrate the return of the good days seems oh so futile to me here, because Easter in India falls at the exact time the climate gets hotter and borderline uncomfortable which I don’t really feel like celebrating the way we celebrate it home. I welcome Winter with open arms, cookies, baked dinners and decorations, because this is the season that is the shortest in India and comes as a special treat in most of the subcontinent.
And I could not even really find a way to explain to my daughter why me must paint eggs around Easter, what would be the reason? “Because that’s what other people abroad do”? I’m sure if the festival in question held a bigger place in my life and had a massive significance when I grew up I would get into it and pass the tradition to my daughter, but it really doesn’t ring a bell with me at all. As i said Christmas is the one I would not skip for the world, because of the significance it had for me growing up, the idea of passing some of that magical spirit to my daughter makes me want to celebrate it even more.

And regarding Easter, I realise quite ironically that we did made an “egg” based craft project on Good Friday, and that it wasn’t even planned as such :

2013-03-30 11.55.50
I just had some egg cartons lying around and needed something to keep Ishita busy on a no-school day, so we made these little monsters out of the base of the egg carton. It’s just when we were mid-way through the project that I realised that while many of my friends and family were probably colouring eggs while I worked with the egg boxes instead.

To all who celebrated Easter, let me Wish you a Happy Easter and hope you had a blast with your families and children.

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