Sunday, April 04, 2010

Easter


My Easter memories are of wanting this holiday to be as big and bright as Christmas, but it never was. Maybe part of the reason Easter has never been as big as Christmas is that Easter coincides with the spring solstice and Christmas coincides with the winter solstice and people need much more partying when facing the severity of winter than they need when they're facing the easy times of summer. Maybe just knowing that the warm temperatures are coming makes us happy enough to not need so many sparkling lights and holiday music and foods that only show up at this time of year. In ancient times, Christmas was the final celebration before months of cold, darkness that often brought famine and death. Easter, on the other hand, ushered in the bright, abundant months of sunshine, fruit that's ripe for the picking and outdoor temperatures you can sleep in. At this time of year, people didn't need to whistle in the dark or dance on the rim of an uncertain future.

All I know is that the best thing about Easter was the candy: Reese's peanut butter eggs, Cadbury's creme eggs and the one and only time I got a white chocolate solid rabbit that I savored slowly (I didn't like chocolate as a kid). Besides that, Easter was a long, dreary week of extra church services, interminable stations of the cross and the final days of not having whatever it was I gave up for Lent. Easter Sunday was another boring church service (really, they were always boring), but this time in new clothes that were fun for about half an hour. Then we'd come home, take off the clothes that we'd been wearing for way more than an half an hour, and lie around the house, waiting for my mother to finish cooking the ham. Maybe she'd make an Easter cake, which was the other undeniably good thing about the day. Then after dinner, there were depressing life-of-Christ movies that focused more on his dying than on what his resurrection was or meant. And that was Easter.

I'd suck on sugar all day long in an attempt to make Easter as fun as Christmas, but it never was. There were no Easter decorations everywhere, no Easter songs to play on the stereo or Easter gifts to unwrap. There was absolutely no feeling at all that children everywhere were enjoying this special holiday that was just for us because Easter never made it to that level of observance and focus on children.

So for me, Easter was a little depressing. The day was anticlimactic and was often overshadowed by the Catholic church's grim focus on Jesus' suffering, which was of course, our fault for being the sinners that required that sacrifice of him. For these reasons, I have never liked Easter. When I was a believer, I didn't particularly like it and I certainly haven't found anything compelling in it now that I'm an atheist.

For me, the best things about Easter are the candy and the heavily frosted cakes in shapes like lambs and crosses (a cross has THE highest surface area of any cake and the way many bakeries run a ribbon of frosting along every edge, a cross cake has more piled on frosting than any cake I've seen in my life. See photo). Unfortunately, now that I'm off sugar, Easter's got nothing for me.

So, happy Sunday afternoon, everyone. I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend.