Isn't there anyone who can tell me what Easter is all about?
Every year thousands of people, who would under normal circumstances never darken the door of their local church, find themselves suiting up in their Sunday best to sit in unfamiliar pews. Others choose to worship at the tabernacle of Hallmark and Hershey's by stuffing their faces with chocolate bunnies and eggs and giving greeting cards. Some do both, and some do nothing.
Many different countries all over the world celebrate the day of Easter in their own way. In Ireland some have dance offs to win cakes, in Finland some plant grass seeds in pots to welcome the coming of spring. In Mexico people will gather in the streets and beat piÃ±atas that bear the likeness of Judas Iscariot the betrayer of Jesus Christ. Whether sacred or secular this holiday bears certain significance to people of many religions and races. Which begs the question "isn't there anyone who can tell me what Easter is all about?" (Ã la Charlie Brown) I know why and how I celebrate this holiday, but where do all of these different and sometimes conflicting ideologies and theologies meet on this holiday?
"If you wanna make an omelette you gotta break some eggs"
The egg is a symbol that is shared by many different groups around this holiday. Both the pagan and the Christian regard the egg as a symbol of re-birth. To the pagan it represents the new life that is concurrent with the coming of spring. To the Christian it represents the new spiritual life that was made available to mankind through the sacrifice of the life of Jesus Christ on the Cross. The Jews also have their own egg inspired symbolism; they take a hardboiled egg and dip it in salt water as a token of the Passover Seder festival sacrifice.
If you do a little bit of research you will find that many of these traditions date back centuries and are important festivals to many religious and secular groups. Even the person who doesn't affiliate with any particular religious creed more than likely finds themselves taking part in this holiday in one way or another, whether it is the chocolate, the turkey or ham dinner, or an Easter egg hunt. Or maybe just enjoying government sanctioned paid holidays.
Major religious holidays like Christmas and Easter are a confusing time for many people if they stop to examine their actions. They celebrate the holiday by taking part in all of its festivities without a real knowledge or recognition of the reason that they are celebrating. The sacred holidays have been secularized and commercialized to the point that they are virtually unrecognizable from their sacred origins. So what is about them that keeps us ringing them in year after year. Perhaps part of the reason is that humans love an excuse to celebrate. You don't have to be Irish to drink your face off on St. Patrick's Day. You don't have to believe in Jesus to celebrate his birth at Christmas time. So what makes these traditions and holidays last from generation to generation? A good question deserves a good answer, and on this one I just don't have it.