Easter is the most profoundly religious of Christian holidays. We York girls observed it growing up by going to church on Easter Sunday, although I don’t remember attending the observances of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, or Holy Saturday.
Tenebrae, anyone? Here’s the Wikipedia definition:
“Tenebrae is a religious service of Western Christianity held during the three days preceding Easter, and characterized by gradual extinguishing of candles, and by a “strepitus” or “loud noise” taking place in total darkness near the end of the service.”
I suppose we knew on some level that Easter was a serious religious holiday, although mostly for me it meant a new dress, patent leather shoes and white ankle socks, a straw hat, and a pink topper — a short jacket with wide sleeves and a single button at the neck. We also colored eggs, got Easter baskets, and the Easter bunny left each of us a small present in the oven. No idea where that latter came from. Maybe it was a Halpin family thing — my mother’s side.
No one here at Klainer West is particularly religious, but Ben and Sara and I are coloring eggs with the kids on Saturday while Amy and Matt take care of a business obligation. On Sunday I’m hosting brunch, with an egg hunt outside so my exuberant grandkids don’t tear apart the house. Happily, sun and mild temperatures will prevail. Louise goes to church on Sunday and her daughter will be here, but L. is stopping by mid-afternoon for a glass of wine. Should be a lovely day.
I don’t honestly feel that my life, or a holiday celebration like Easter, is diminished by the absence of a religious context. Aside from medieval Catholic theology rooted in sin, the whole pedophilia scandal, or the Church’s longtime inability to recognize the spiritual gifts of women, Catholicism never really took with me. From a very young age, the whole thing seemed a bit like the Wizard of Oz, and we all know what happened when Toto pulled back the screen.
But I have no wish to diminish the importance or religiosity of the day, and for those of you for whom Easter is a deeply holy experience of renewal and affirmation, I wish you a happy and blessed day.