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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Easter

Just before he said it, it flashed through my mind, that it would be something if he would. Ahmadinejad's 'Easter gift to the British people' has made me reflect on the significance of Easter to people in the West -- it would seem that perhaps it is more significant to the President of Iran than to many of the rest of us!

In the US not much is really made of Easter. There are Easter Baskets covered in colorful cellophane for sale and horrible chocolate bunnies and horrible marshmallow 'peepers' (now in sickening blue, pick and green as well as yellow) -- but there is no holiday and it can pass by without anyone taking much notice. It should be perhaps noted that while there is not public holiday for Easter, it is usual that the schools time the Spring break to occur at that time. It is also a tradition that the White House has an Easter egg roll or hunt for children -- specially picked, of course! But overall, it's 'the holiday that isn't'.

When I was a child my parents made a big deal of Easter Sunday. In fact the period from Palm Sunday through Holy Week was spiritually very important to both my parents, as it is now still for me. It is in fact the most important of the holy days on the Christian calendar. As a small child I believed in the Easter Bunny and rushed to see the presents delivered to my place at the breakfast table. For years it meant a new outfit, a new hat and shoes (patent leather 'Mary Jane's' with the ankle strap and gros-grain bow), often a new spring coat and of course church. To this day I associate Easter with tulips and daffodils and always have them to bring the feel of Easter into the house.

In the mid-seventies in Washington, DC, my best friend and neighbor, David and I began to throw Easter dinners. What was interesting was that everyone we invited was so happy to have the dinner and to participate in it -- as if they rather regretted the lack of an Easter tradition. I don't know if there has ever really been a tradition in America as in Europe. Here Easter Monday is a holiday. Germany has a lovely Easter tradition -- eggs and Easter egg trees and pasqual lambs from the bakery and special bread, along with the religious celebration. I have some exquisitely painted and decorated eggs that I acquired when we lived in Bavaria. Unfortunately, at the moment I don't even know exactly where they are. Certainly the traditions of Germany are the traditions most prevalent in America. British customs are far more reserved and consist largely of hot-cross buns and all things chocolate -- especially chocolate Easter eggs.

Back to Washington -- David and I gave 4 or 5 dinners and no one who had ever come to one dinner declined to come the next year! The last one we cooked 4 legs of lamb and had nearly 60 people ... Easter became for us a joyful and festive occasion with plenty of food and lots of song and even a bit of dance: a celebration of life and of promise.

For truly Easter is just that: a celebration and promise of life everlasting ...

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