My Family Celebrates Easter, But Not for Religious Reasons

People may wonder what it is like to grow up in a household without religion. Whether we are atheists or agnostics, I can’t be sure, but we were not raised on the Bible. In fact, the Bible’s main purpose in our household was to fill the edges with funny quotes and stories about our childhood. To deface a Bible, I am sure, must be the opposite of what most children with religious upbringings experience. It wasn’t meant as disrespectful, just one of our family’s quirks. We all have them.

If we are not religious, why are we celebrating Easter at all?

Not being religious truly begs the question during long vacations centered on Christianity; how are holidays celebrated when you are not religious? Believe me, there is a tendency to buy in to the consumerism of each holiday, and nowhere is this more glaringly obvious than with Easter. If we are not religious, why are we celebrating Easter at all? If we do not believe in Jesus, what is there to celebrate?

I distinctly remember my mother when I was a young child, aggravated that a fox had eaten all of the eggs before the big Easter egg hunt she had set up. I recall gathering around the table to paint eggs in pastel pinks, blues, and greens. Dipping eggs into dye, and even writing on them with seemingly magical (to my four-year-old-eyes) white wax crayons that would create elaborate patterns.

I remember with clarity the fluffy marshmallow Peeps, lined up in rows of pink, yellow, blue, and green. I fondly relish the memories of chomping into a chewy Cadbury egg, and the baskets filled with green plastic straw and chocolate. For a family that does not believe or talk about Jesus, however, I am left wondering at this point in my life, what are these memories for? Is it nothing more than commercialism?

During Christmas my family holds a tradition of distributing donations to various charities or volunteering hours in another family member’s name. I can truly see the spirit of Christmas shine through, even if we may not be attending any all-night church services. It is Easter, though, that has always perplexed me. How can I draw the connection between chocolate and a strange bunny rabbit that happens to lay eggs, to anything meaningful? Is there a connection?

I may be unsure of the true meaning behind Easter, but the time off from work and school is valuable.

I think about the Easter traditions my family went through for so many years, and I ask myself, is it worth it? Perhaps it would be better to skip the holiday entirely. Perhaps, as with Christmas, we should focus on something beneficial to do with the time off. I look around and everywhere from my house to the Whitehouse itself, there is an Easter craze of egg hunting.

The happy memories I have of experiences with family make Easter something special in my heart. While not the significance of the Biblical event, Easter weekend is part of what holds my family together. It is the memories of the first breath of fresh spring air, shared together over delicious food, all while laughing about a dramatic retelling of a story about a crafty young fox. I may be unsure of the true meaning behind Easter, but the time off from work and school is valuable. When I return to school after time well spent with family, it is my own version of a resurrection. I am stronger, happier, and healthier for the memories and laughs I was able to share, even if it is over a bunch of store bought chocolate eggs.

We all have our interpretations of faith and spirituality and all are valid. Perhaps Easter and spring time in general is a chance to look at the world again. To see new beginnings, to watch winter fade away and the re-birth of spring start to reveal all the good things that represent a fresh start, hope and renewal.