Saturday, April 3, 2010

Just Celebrate

Thanks to the Roman Emperor Constantine in 325 Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox, therefore always between March 22 and April 25. This declaration ties Easter forever with the ancient Spring Equinox festivals and spiritual/religions traditions celebrating renewal and rebirth around the world. Growing up in Kansas sometimes this meant that our new spring dresses were covered up by our bulky winter coats, not quite ready to go into storage for the summer. Our patent leather Mary Jane’s had to be taken to church to be slipped on after we removed our boots donned to protect our feet from the slush outside.

I hold onto the tradition that Easter is a celebration in reverence to Jesus’ return to life after his death on the cross. It is the victory of life over death. This event is the most significant of all events for Christians. In many of the church services you can hear the Paschal greeting ringing out, an Easter custom among Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Christians, as well as among some Roman Catholic and Protestant Christians. It is used to greet another person with "Christ is Risen!", and the response is "Truly, He is Risen". I love the hope that this remembrance brings. I can appreciate and enjoy the legend surrounding Easter that the name was derived from Eostre who was the Anglo Saxon Goddess of spring. A celebration of newness, fertility, growth and rebirth. From that we enjoy the bunnies, eggs, chicks and grass which make their way into our Easter decorations. All things we associate with the season of spring. Another legend states that according to the Hebrew lunar calendar, Easter falls in the first month also known as ‘Nisan’. According to Hebrew tradition, the cause for its celebration is that, it was during this period, after 300 years Israel came out from the bondage of Egypt.

A clerk in a store yesterday asked me if I was ready for Easter. I of course am not although not because I haven’t given it plenty of thought. The clerk said that at least her boys are too old now so she only has to do one basket for her daughter. One of her son’s in the same age as my son. So I shared with her that my daughter who is 21 isn’t too old for an Easter basket and my son who is 13 has asked about the possibility of an Easter scavenger hunt. Which I wanted to dismiss but then my daughter reminded me I did one for her when she was younger so in all fairness…

Can you be too old to celebrate?

Families and friends gather to celebrate on this day. Young children and some grown children all over are hunting for those hidden eggs and treasures. The purpose of celebrations is to recognize the deeper cultural and religious values associated with our lives. Children receive messages about what is valued in our society (and what is not), through what we recognize, place importance on, respond to and educate about. My own values were developed during my childhood observances of celebrations. Our celebrations change as we grow older but what doesn’t change is the importance in celebrating. Celebrate the newness of spring. Celebrate the infusion of bright colors. Celebrate planting spring flowers that will take us through the summer. Celebrate the resurrection of life. Celebrate the days ahead. Celebrate where we have come from. Celebrate where we are going. Just celebrate.