If you stop and think about it, Easter doesn’t really make sense. Some holidays are heralded in advance for months. Others, like Easter, fizzle out before midnight on the designated Sunday. Part of the problem with Easter is that it is downright confusing. Why couldn’t it be on a stable date, like Christmas? If that isn’t practical, then how about a stable day? You know, like how Thanksgiving is the third Thursday in November every year. How is the date for Easter determined? I’m glad you asked. Apparently, around 325 CE, the Council of Nicaea, who had nothing better to do but pick the spinach out of their teeth and determine that Easter would be held the first Sunday after the full moon, after or on the vernal equinox.
Now there’s a tidbit to entertain your friend with at a party.
The other thing about Easter that makes no sense to me is the food. Easter, when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ, who was Jewish, traditionally like to make ham for Easter dinner. That strikes me as a little ironic, or snarky, if you prefer. Also, what is with all the candy, and what does that have to do with anything? Don’t get me wrong; I’m for chocolate. Lots of chocolate. But does anyone find it a little macabre to have small children biting the heads of the Easter bunny? Speaking of that famous rabbit, he is a glorified misplaced mascot at best. What in the world does the bunny have to do with the Resurrection of Christ? Unless society got it wrong all those years ago. Maybe the rabbit was supposed to be eaten, instead of the ham and “they”, meaning the people who get to make the rules on these things, got it mixed up because of the migraines they were sporting when trying to figure out when Easter actually was supposed to be that year.
And bunnies with eggs? That is just wrong on so many levels. So, let’s review a little before moving on. Easter is a holiday for which you practically need an advanced degree in math to predict, we eat ham to celebrate an event that happened in Jewish territory, and we teach our kids that bunnies lay eggs that have candy, not chicks, inside them. And then, to top it off, we make them eat Peeps. Those have got to be the most disgusting candy of all time. I think calling them “candy” may even be a little generous. Did you know that Peeps have lots of sugar, carbs, yellow dye, and the same sort of wax that is in most car waxes? That afterglow your kid has after eating Peeps is not a sugar rush. Your kid is waxed and buffed and would make any car jealous.
The other part of Easter that I scratch my head about is the “New Easter Outfit”. Surely this is a joke, especially for those of us that live in the Northeast. If you live in the country in the Northeast, it is even a bigger joke. When you think of a new Easter outfit, you picture something light and Springy, something that can be worn into the Summer. Insert scoffing here. Around here, there is as good a chance of snow as not. Maybe we should start a new tradition, say Easter Snow Pants? If it isn’t snowing, then we are in that season between Winter and Spring. Around here we call it Mud Season. Somehow, traipsing through three inches of slimy, gooey mud doesn’t make me want to go out and buy brand new sling-back open-toed sandals. If there were an Easter Parade around here, the announcers’ dialogue would go something like this:
Marge: ”Bob, what a beautiful day for Easter, isn’t it?”
Bob: “Why yes, Marge, and we’re getting quite the look at the latest spring fashions.”
Marge: “Oh, look at that! See that girl with the purple snow pants? How adorable. Oh! Too bad! That sled she was on totally clashed with her outfit.”
Bob: “But look behind her, the redheaded boy. Now that is a picture to behold.”
Marge: “Yes, he is certainly strutting his stuff with those new muck boots and mud splattered dress pants.”
Bob: “Marge, that isn’t mud. But look over there! We have that teenager texting while walking in her new open-toed sandals. Now there’s a style you don’t usually see around here.”
Marge: “Oh! That’s too bad. Looks like she lost one of her shoes in that big mud puddle!”
Bob: “Marge, that isn’t mud.”
Marge: “Well folks, looks like we’re going to have to wrap it up. Our view has just been cut off by 857 cows going in for milking. Watch out for that mud, Bob!”
Bob (sighs): ”Marge, that isn’t mud.”
In short, those dainty shoes and light weight outfits don’t belong here in the Northeast this time of year. Which brings me to the next tradition that is short on common sense: The Sunrise Graveside Service. Sounds like fun, right? Not to burst any traditional bubbles here, but in our area, this activity should be thought through carefully. Cold metal folding chairs in a cemetery and trying to pay attention while scraping frost off your glasses doesn’t sound like something that is conducive to piety to me. And then, after making everyone get up extra early, and freezing their hot cross buns off in a cemetery, they have to go into the church and be pleasant. Everyone has to act all cheerful as if they didn’t miss a hour and a half of sleep, stick to a cold metal chair for thirty minutes, without even having their coffee yet.
Easter isn’t, and should never be, about the bunny, the eggs, the candy, the new outfit, nor even about the coffee (gasp). Which is why around here we don’t say “Happy Easter” but “Happy Resurrection Day”.
Now that is a tradition that makes sense.