Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Celebrating Easter Weekend

Easter is one of those holidays that I have come to invest more meaning with over time.

When I was a child, the religious aspects eluded me. Easter was a holiday for brightly colored candies in egg shapes, and for Easter egg hunting. That meant Paas painting egg shell kits, and that also meant dying the eggs all different colors, which was all sorts of fun. There was the Easter Bunny as well, and usually, that meant chocolates in the shape of those bunnies.

That seemed to be Easter to me as a child.

Of course, that was my very limited understanding of the holiday at the time.

In time, I learned about the more serious meanings, including the Jesus being crucified, and the resurrection. It is indeed the holiest day of the Christian calendar, and for good reason. This is the central belief of their cannon.

Some years ago, I heard that retail stores had tried to make Easter a holiday similar to Christmas, where they tried all sorts of massive sales. The idea was that Easter would become essentially another Christmas, so that there would be a mad dash for holiday gifts at the beginning of winter, and then another one at the beginning of spring.

Fortunately, that experiment flopped. After all, Christmas, like Easter, was originally intended to be a holiday honoring Jesus - in this case, his birth. Yet, what Christmas has become is the ultimate shopping holiday. Shopping for gifts, and spending a ton of money in the process. More often than not, it winds up being a crass consumer pursuit, where it more or less becomes about keeping up with the Joneses. Unfortunately, it stresses people out, to the point where many people feel completely left out.

The conditioning for this holiday begins early. I also remember in my own childhood equating Christmas with receiving gifts, hoping to get all that you desired (even when you knew, deep down, that this was not possible). Again, the actual significance of Christmas and what it was supposed to represent eluded me, and it seems to largely elude most people who engage enthusiastically in shopping and buying gifts. It was so popular, it even became a holiday in Japan, although minus the religious significance, which seems fitting, frankly.

However, this whole thing that has spiraled out of control actually goes completely against the grain of what Jesus said and taught. Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus suggest that we should engage in mass consumer culture. In fact, he clearly advocates quite the opposite, unless you have extremely selective interpretations. Even then, there really is no justification for this mass consumerism anywhere in the Bible, and so it is good, at least, that the greed of retailers to try and do to Easter what they succeeded in doing to Christmas ultimately was not successful.

Still, there is some degree of consumerism associated with Easter as it is popularly celebrated in the West. Again, we have all of those candies and chocolate bunnies and dyes for the eggs, and all of that. And food expenses surely go up, because many families host holiday feasts.

However, Easter remains largely a holiday when Christians usually go to church and honor the resurrection, and attempt to be humble, and to try and anchor their moral compass to come a little closer to the Christian spirit, at least in theory. Spending time with loved ones is a good way of doing that.

And so, even though I have never been the most religious man (the common way of describing this is to suggest that I am spiritual, but not religious), I nonetheless try to understand the spirit that this holiday is supposed to represent, as well as it's historical roots as a celebration of the arrival of spring, and the season of new life, as the cold of winter yields to the milder climate of spring. Indeed, it was quite hot this past Easter Sunday, and felt like we were watching it jump straight from winter to summer.

My son was with me throughout this weekend, which meant something special to me. And even though I understand that Easter candy is part of the crass consumer culture, it was hard to resist not getting a little bit for my son, and then having him go on a small scale Easter egg hunt, much like my brother and I did when we were younger. Those were generally fun and treasured memories, and my son is still yet a child, and he enjoyed it last year, and was very much looking forward to it this year, to boot. Plus, who would it hurt, anyway?

So, here are some video clips of my son going on his Easter egg hunt over this extended holiday weekend:












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