A REASON TO CELEBRATE EASTER
Easter reminds me of green and beautiful colors along with jelly beans, chocolate rabbits and eggs. My memory of childhood Easters is having an Easter basket filled with green fake grass. I was told that if I went to sleep the night before that the Easter Rabbit would come and leave beautiful eggs. My siblings and me would get our baskets ready the evening before and when we woke up the next morning we could hardly wait to pick up our baskets and rush outside to see who could find the most eggs. Sadly, I was not the winner – or so it is as I remembered. It wasn't until I was in the third grade that I learned that the hard-boiled eggs colored on the outside had been decorated by my mother and my sister who was five years old than me.
In connection with those childhood Easter memories is a large egg that my mother had for years. It was a hollow egg made of some kind of sugar and decorated in white and lavender. It was her treasure and we could only look at it. Over the years this treasure disintegrated.
For Easter, we children always had new shoes, a new dress and a new hat. These were our summer church-going clothes. My younger brother had a new suit and new shoes. My memories of going to church on Easter are vague and perhaps I shut them out because I didn't want to be reminded that Jesus died on a cross and on the third day rose from the dead. It really didn't make sense to me, and how could he have died for my sins. What sins could I possibly have? I could barely wait until I could go home and begin eating all my candy as well as some of the hard-boiled eggs.
I don't think I questioned why a rabbit would would bring colored eggs only on Easter. As an adult I did question and sought the origin of Easter. Oh what a delicious surprise when I learned it was a celebration that outdated the crucifixion of Jesus. My views of Christianity were at a low ebb and I laughed with glee when I learned the early Church fathers had hijacked Easter to entice the Pagans to become Christians.
Easter began as an ancient Pagan celebration. One of the names attributed to this day of renewal is Eostre or Eastre, whose meaning is spring. The Pagans honored and revered the Earth and their celebrations evolved into including rabbits and eggs. Why rabbits? Rabbits, or hares are known to be prolific fertility creators. Eggs are also revered for fertility. Therefore, over the age the two merged with the rabbit or hare leaving eggs to be found in a nest in nature. Later, the eggs would evolve into beautiful decorated eggs.
Easter is a celebration of the beginning of spring and the re-emergence of the new leaves and flowers. It is a time for planting our gardens and to observe the life that comes from the seeds.
There is a reason for every season. Easter is a celebration of laughter and joy because there is new life. We can renew the life within us by seeing things as they are and to let go of our prejudices and judgments. It is a time for us to shed our worn-out beliefs – our worries, and to change our minds into something greater. It is a time to celebrate who we are and what we have accomplished. It is a time to create new opportunities and to live life fully aware of who we are. Join me in celebrating life and especially our own.