I was going to write about fun ways to celebrate Easter in a non-Christian home, so I asked a friend if she celebrates Easter, hoping for some tips. Her response: “We’re not religious. If you aren’t religious then Easter is just about cheap toys and excessive candy.” Her comment has haunted me since.
I grew up in a household that may have been religious at one time. Their attempts had ceased by the time I came along. (To clarify, I was raised by my dad and his parents, but that’s a story for another day.) My dad and his brothers were all baptized and they attended church as children. My grandparents “never got around” to baptizing me, and I only saw the inside of a church during weddings and funerals.
It wasn’t a bad upbringing. I just want to explain that, as a child, my grasp on Easter was tenuous at best. I knew there were eggs, the Easter Bunny, and that somehow these things were related to Jesus and resurrection, although I couldn’t see how. Once I asked my grandma to connect these dots for me. She shrugged and said, “Maybe Jesus liked eggs.” This is comical now, but it did not shed any light on the situation at the time.
Religious or not, we celebrated Easter. Every year I got exactly one Disney movie, and that was in my Easter basket. We dyed eggs and had egg hunts. My grandfather always hid a special treat for me and drew out hints that I had to follow to find it. Grandma made a fancy ham dinner and my uncles came over to eat and play. So I didn’t understand the point, but I did know Easter was all about magic. Disney magic, rising from the dead, fun with my family, and humanoid rabbits that laid eggs got all jumbled up in my mind to create one magical day.
So that’s why, even though we don’t go to church, we believe in the magic of Easter and we celebrate that. I want my daughter to have magical days and memories.
I am going to try to explain things to her in a better way than they were explained to me. To that end, I think that we could learn how various religions celebrate Easter and discuss things like resurrection tales in different cultures and religions. And how rabbits do not lay eggs. When she is older, maybe each year could have a theme. I don’t have all the answers yet. But I know I want Easter to be about magic and not just cheap toys and excessive candy … although both will be involved, as will dyed eggs and ham dinners and maybe even Disney movies.