Easter is a universal holiday that can have personal relative meanings to each individual and the celebrations that we adhere to compliment them all. Easter mass, Easter vacation, Easter eggs, it’s all a part of a larger Easter picture that we either celebrate with joy or in hopes that we make it through another Easter dinner without a huge family brawl.
Naturally, children dressed in their new Easter attire anticipate a two day sugar rush and the highlight of their holiday, the Easter eggs hunt. The Easter bunny that I was acquainted with came in the middle of the night and hid our hand crafted Easter eggs, brought candy with him and placed it throughout the house, and left us each a couple of gifts. His presence was known by the neatly wrapped packages that awaited us somewhere in my grandmother’s home which of course we hoped we could open as soon as humanly possible.
My grandmother had nine grandchildren, and as we each ceremoniously rumbled through her house searching out goodies and that one special Easter egg we had decorated as own very own, we were quite oblivious to the truer aspects of the holiday.
From a Christian standpoint, it was the holiest of holidays, celebrating the resurrection of Christ. For most other individuals it was a time for celebrating the arrival of spring and the new beginnings and fertility that the season was known for. We were obliviously celebrating something and having a wonderful time doing it.
Just like every other holiday, Easter comes with its own universal traditions and its own family traditions, most people creating an easy blend of both. The Easter egg, a simple and logical representation of everything new, has been hidden for children for centuries.
The word Easter most likely originates from the name called out to the spirit of fertility and re-birth, often known as Eostre. Eostre was a god or goddess of Pagan design, and the people celebrated her ceremoniously once every year at the passing of winter. There was a celebration of the power of light that comes to take over the darkness, in all forms. Daylight became longer than the night, babies were born to overshadow the passing of loved ones through the harsh winter, the goddess descended into the underworld for three days, although there are conflicting theories as to why she did this. Some say it was an obligation while others say she went to assure that there were no innocents that were trapped, yet others speculate that she was experiencing a re-birth of her own.
Christians and others now celebrate the same day but not necessarily with the same meaning lingering behind the celebration. Christians and Catholics turn to hear the papal address of the Vatican while Pagan oriented celebration welcome springtime. This cohesive state of celebration should represent a unity amongst diversity. However with research and information, the unity has begun to split into intolerance rather than a warm embrace.
As information becomes more prevalent and accessible and historians are able to gather more fact, the unique world we live in and the origins of some of our basic beliefs have led to a growing intolerance for non- Christian holidays. An increasing number of devout Christians are giving up the cultural and traditional spirit of Easter (and Christmas) and condemning the Easter egg, the Easter bunny, and Easter celebrations that represent the historical past of Easter origins, believing that anything with Pagan originations was in fact, created by the Satan himself.
Easter is, always has been, and hopefully forever shall be, a time of excited celebration regardless of which orientation one chooses to celebrate. The gleaming smiles smeared across the faces of children, meals shared with family members that are only visited on holidays, that special ambiance that everyone feels just as the holiday falls upon us. Whether a family is welcoming the relief of springtime or is sitting honorably in Easter Mass, Easter should be a time of unity and gracious togetherness.
Nearly every country in the world celebrates Easter in their own style with their own traditions. Some we share with them and others are completely unique. From egg cracking games to the customary chocolate bunny to piñatas loaded with firecrackers, Easter brings about a host of celebrations that many consider to be one of the largest festivals of the year.
Easter, much like Christmas, holds the potential to bring forth the best in people. In the spirit of Christ or in the celebratory spirit of new light, Easter has the potential to touch us all on a deep and spiritual level, giving us a day to shed our “dark” to embrace our “light.”
The light of Christ or the light of birth, each individual worldwide has the opportunity to share in a rare and unique celebration that unites us all, regardless of religious beliefs.