If you’ve read my blog in the past, you’re probably aware that I love faith more than religion and I hold the awesomeness of people in higher regard than the awesomeness of deities. This is not a jab against deities, I am just keenly aware that it requires more effort for humans to be awe-inspiring, and therefore choose to honor them for it. That being said, it might really surprise you that I love Easter. I love Easter because it reminds me of stained glass windows– beautiful portraits created out of smaller, colorful pieces of light-catching glass. Easter is like that. It is a day of stunning beauty and glory, and it is created from glittering pieces of our history, set together to create something wonderful.
I remember once asking my parents why Easter was on a different day every year. Sometimes it’s in March, sometimes it’s in April, and I found that strange. I understood it always being on Sunday– that made sense. But why the drastically different dates? My mother was doing a crossword puzzle and responded: “it’s based on the moon.”
It took me years to figure out why that was odd. I knew at the time that our other holidays weren’t like that, but it wasn’t until I was much older that I truly understood our disuse of the Lunar Calendar in order to more fully separate ourselves from the Pagans in earlier centuries. I find our dating method for Easter even stranger than the commandeering of Winter Solstice for Christmas, because there’s something that is decidedly Pagan about moon-related holidays, and I couldn’t believe that the Church had allowed its continuance. However, I love that it has stayed the same, because it gladdens me to know that a tradition that spans hundreds of years, beliefs, and empires… is still here. That our hatred for “those that are different” can’t destroy everything, and that there are still things that tie the “evil” and the “good” religions together, even after all this time. It makes me glad to see that at the base of things, we’re not so different.
The name “Easter” was another word I never understood growing up. I knew it was meant to represent the day on which Christ rose from the tomb, but the word, itself, was strange to me. I looked for it in the Bible, but I never found it. Which, makes sense, because it’s not in there.
I was in High School before I stumbled upon the answer to that one. You need to realize that I love who we are, but I also love knowing WHY we are what we are, so it’s never been uncommon for me to research various traditions and religions. My interests eventually led me to Ēostre, a Pagan goddess of Fertility. Fertility. Suddenly all of the rabbits and eggs on Easter made sense. Even the day of Rebirth maintained a poetic tie to the old gods’ day of New Life, and I loved it.
I was so excited the day I realized how Easter and Ēostre tied us to lives and traditions from ages past. I started looking at Easter like a living museum, not separated from us by sheets of cold glass but adored and celebrated by millions. I loved the idea. I loved that who we are was tied so beautifully to our ancestors, even though our ideas had changed. So I tried to explain it to my friends. At church.
They were not happy.
I was accused of blasphemy. That I was trying to sully Jesus’ resurrection with Pagan lies. That I wanted people to stop celebrating Easter by telling them these things. I was shocked. I didn’t want people to STOP celebrating. I wanted them to celebrate harder. I wanted them to rejoice in the wonder that is their God AND in the wonder that is human perseverance. I wanted them to be amazed at how our ancestors that celebrated Ēostre had wanted to create a line with which to pass on their legacies– and that they succeeded, because we still use their feasts today. I wanted them to celebrate that beautiful concept of Resurrection as they realized what gorgeous buds had sprouted from the soil laid down centuries ago. I wanted them to understand that the world is beautiful and complicated, and our current lives are made up of pieces of the past in order to make a glorious whole in the same way that the stained glass windows we stood beneath were.
I don’t know if they ever got it. I’m not sure I was able to explain it in a way that wasn’t offensive, and that is my shortfall. I don’t know if anyone who reads this now really understands what I’m trying to say, either. But that’s okay. Because it doesn’t matter to me WHY you’re happy and content in life, only that you are. Easter is a celebration of Life. Celebrate it in whatever way you to desire to, and know that the most primal of instincts– love, whether it is a love of life, of Christ, of family, whatever. But LOVE– ties you to a million other people across the world and generations. And that is beautiful.