Thursday, April 21, 2011

An Easter Tradition...why I miss Christianity, or at least the holidays

Neither my husband nor I practice any religion.  While I love studying and learning about religions I'm generally a failure at practicing them.  I tried Catholicism, I tried Protestantism and then I went a little wild in college and tried Islam. I have studied dozens of other faiths.  Those are all really long stories of their own, but in the end I ended up back where I was in the beginning.  Constantly wondering about the origins of the universe, where I came from, what my purpose is and what happens after we die. I have no answers to any of those questions, aside from deciding that I was going to stop thinking about dying and start living.  I wasn't going just to survive anymore, getting through each day, I'm going to get up and go do something, go see something and go make a memory.
Tangent about the meaning of life aside, the reason that I miss Christianity is because I miss the holidays and the community around them. I miss Easter dinner, eating ham around the table. All the warm fuzzies.  Atheists/agnostics don't really get holidays.  My husband and I don't celebrate Easter, so unless we go out (as we did one year) and dye eggs with a friend's son, it isn't a Sunday any different than any other.
I never really liked Easter that much growing up.  The weather in the north east seemed to always be either cold, rainy or both cold and rainy. I had to dress up in 'pretty' clothing, keep my tights clean and go to a really long Mass first thing in the morning. a 10 year olds world, none of that is fun.  I did however like the candy. I love jelly beans, although I'm rather picky about which ones I like.  I like letting chocolate melt on my tongue, and I especially loved this tradition we had in our family.
In my family you had  to work to get your Easter basket.  You want that chocolate? You want those jelly beans? Then you had to play the game.  Every year we had a an Easter Basket hunt with clues written on little pieces of paper leading to other clues around the house. And somehow there was always an Easter basket at the end, even if you had surreptitiously looked in the pots and pans, or in the tub before the actual start of the hunt and there was nothing there, in the end there was always one pristine Easter basket.  My parents were sneaky like that! There were places that there were always clues such as the piano, our favorite Beatles record (Sgt. Peppers), the dictionary or our encyclopedias.  We always had fun, and I can't wait to teach this tradition to my children.
Another tradition that we had is that my mom gives us toothbrushes on Easter (and in our Christmas stocking).  It seems fitting to get a tooth brush right before the start of the sugar rush holidays.  Also, my mom would always break the ears off of our bunnies.  When we were kids she would steal them (don't deny it mom!) but now she just cracks them off before she send them to us.  It is funny, but tends to confuse friends that wonder why we have broken candy in our baskets.  It still cracks me up when she sends me candy bunnies in the mail with broken ears.

What is your favorite part of the holidays? The warm fuzzy memories? The traditions?


  1. The missing ears cracks me up!
    I'm 50% Italian and 50% Ukrainian and Catholic. We celebrate Christmas Italian and Easter Ukrainian. My father decorates elaborate Ukrainian Easter eggs (Google it, they are amazing) we get baskets of the food we will eat on Easter day blessed on Saturday, everything, right down to the butter we would put on our bread or horseradish on the ham. Then Easter day after mass is full of eastern European treats including Kielbasa, Ukrainian Easter bread or paska & Poppy sead & nut rolls. Hmm I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. Good think I only have a few more days to wait :)

  2. I love the broken ears story :) That's really cute.

  3. I'll try not to be judgmental about your not being a practicing Catholic!

    Frankly, I don't see any reason why you can't still celebrate religious holidays while not practicing any specific religion. That's the way most people do it, in my experience.

    I would imagine most people that color eggs have NO IDEA about the symbolism of it. Certainly most children don't. Does that mean that they don't enjoy it? No. Does it mean they shouldn't do it? No. Even though we, as Americans, have basically reduced the holidays to an experience of blatant consumerism doesn't mean that by rebelling against that you have to forgo all holidays. Neither should you have to because you have chosen not to observe the religious traditions behind them.

    Color eggs. Put up a Christmas tree. Embrace the holidays! Yay!

  4. I think when we have kids we'll have more of a reason to 'have' traditions...yeah know?

  5. lol interesting post, moving from christianity to islam musta been a huge change. I've never been so into religious celebrations like easter and xmas. I just cnt be bothered about christmas trees and easter eggs and so many family members visiting my parents all at the same time lol.

  6. Have you checked out Unitarian Universalist? They teach about all the different religions out there and let you come to your own spiritual decisions.

    I also agree that many Americans celebrate religious holidays [of all faiths] as more of a cultural event.

  7. I have. Almost all of my family is UU. I think that is a post for another time lol....


I love comments and promise to read all of them! If you have a problem posting just email me at eileenkward at gmail dot com