Easter is coming up. I don’t have too many thoughts on this occasion but I do have a few memories I thought I could share. When I was younger my family was quite religious. I was never forced into any particular faith by either of my parents but I was keen to attend church and I found a great deal of comfort in the routine and structure of it. After my parents separated my mother, younger sister and I began attending church every Sunday. This continued until I was in my teens and I began to seriously question my faith. These facts feel important to the stories I am about to recount as Easter is a religious holiday.
For most of my life I was raised to only eat fish on Good Friday. One year my family took a road trip to visit our relatives for Easter. I remember getting a burger for lunch without even realising it was the day we were never permitted to eat red meat. I felt so terrible about it afterward. My conscience told me that I had just committed some kind of sin. I was so scared of going to hell that I prayed for forgiveness for days.
The Good Friday rule of “fish only” has caused some awkward moments. Many of my friends growing up had different beliefs, some had never even heard of our rule and only observed Good Friday as a public holiday. When I was fifteen I spent Good Friday at my first boyfriend’s house. I had to awkwardly request fish for lunch. I felt like such an inconvenience but as we were already going to a local takeaway it wasn’t a big deal. Coincidently that Good Friday was also the day I experienced my first kiss so I suppose my request didn’t make me seem too strange.
The thing I loved the most about Easter was the chocolate eggs. I have always had an extremely sweet tooth. Growing up I loved sweets like most children but chocolate has always been my favourite treat. This made Easter one of my favourite holidays. I suppose if Australia celebrated Halloween like other places in the world then that would have become my favourite holiday. In Australia Halloween is only just beginning to become more popular but many households still dislike trick-or-treaters and will ignore them. Easter is much more mainstream and acceptable here. The supermarkets begin selling chocolate eggs and hot cross buns from New Year’s Day! Easter, much like Christmas, has grown from a religious celebration to be a commercial holiday. As much as I love chocolate it does seem odd to me that a religious occasion is so widely observed by so many people with impartial beliefs.
I’m torn about the ethical ramifications of introducing Easter to my future children. On one hand i know that my husband and I aren’t religious. We both have had a relationship with church in our past. Regardless of our faith or beliefs we are no longer church goers and would not consider ourselves followers of a particular religion. I would describe myself as agnostic. However on the other hand it seems wrong to deprive a child of such a joyful holiday that has changed meaning for so many people and is so widely visible. This moral dilemma is a slippery slope considering that Christmas is also so commonly celebrated regardless of religious belief.
I know we will celebrate both of these occasions with our children. It is not even up for debate in our social sphere. I just can’t help but wonder why that is.