You’ve likely taken part in some sort of Easter traditions or activities, which usually revolve around crafts and games about bunnies and eggs, a mountain of chocolates and sweets, or feasts with family and friends. Although technically a Christian holiday according to our current Gregorian calendar, there’s no reason why this special day has to centre entirely around religion.
The meaning of Easter
The snow is melting, new leaves are budding, flowers are blooming, and birds, bees and all sorts of animals emerge from hiding. The Equinox is here, and with it returns the greenery and the sunshine that will brighten our lives all the way through summer. This is an important time for people. At the very roots of Easter, one of the most widespread Springtime holidays across the world, we have the ancient pagans to thank. They are the reason why we have an Easter Bunny and those infamous eggs lining superstore shelves every spring, as they were most in touch with the land and its renewal.
“Regardless of the very ancient origins of the symbol of the egg, most people agree that nothing symbolises renewal more perfectly than the egg – round, endless, and full of the promise of life.”
– April Holloway. “The Ancient Pagan Origins of Easter.” 20 April 2014.
Mono no aware, likewise hailing from the ancient Heian period, is a core ethos throughout Japan’s Hanami, to enjoy the now. It goes to show that no matter how far back you look into history, you may find kinship with those who lived so long ago, or even a long-forgotten prospect that will revitalise the present, and give the future a new meaning. In those moments, history reaches full circle––like an egg!
How we can celebrate
It’s a given that some people will be attending church services or will be having large family gatherings for the next few days. But for those of us that are not Christian, there are plenty of ways we can still celebrate the coming of Spring!
Starting a garden:
Since the weather is warming up and spring rains are abound, now is the best time to start planting! You can always refer to our earlier article about starting a home garden, but if you have a yard at your disposal, you can always start growing your own vegetable garden. Not only will growing your own veggies help you save money, it can also be therapeutic for those of us with hectic day-to-day lives. There are few things more rewarding than nurturing and tending to new life.
For ideas on where to start, you can always check out Better Homes and Gardens’ article on starting a vegetable garden for beginners. If planting outside isn’t an option, some vegetables grow well indoors as well. Just make sure to give them plenty of sunlight to grow!
If gardening isn’t your thing, then perhaps attending festivals or other such events will be more to your liking. Festivals and events will vary depending on where you live, but they should be fairly easy to research if you’re interested in attending one. Where I live, we have a Tulip Festival every Spring to celebrate the changing of the seasons and our diplomatic relations with the Netherlands. They have similar festivals across the Netherlands, since the tulip is their national flower.
If you’re in East Asia, you don’t need to look far in most major cities to find flourishing displays all across parks and gardens. Among those blooms are cherry blossoms, plum blossoms and many other flowers, but there are events and festivals to be found as well! They also have cherry blossom festivals in the Northeastern United States, such as in DC and New York, and it is definitely worth checking out if there’s one near you.
While across the world flowers maintain a great focus, there are other joys to be found this time of year. All across the USA, there are Water Lantern Festivals where thousands of people attend to celebrate life. You can make a lantern of your own where you write your thoughts, dreams, and hopes, and light them on the water to drift away into the world. It’s a highly emotional experience for those that attend and an opportunity to heal and bond with loved ones.
The main thing that rings true and strong throughout is that Easter is a time to gather, to bond, to heal, and to grow. Whether it’s with friends, family, or by yourself, we are alive and that alone is something worth celebrating. There will be many hardships, but we are human, and therefore we are strong. When we fall, we rise again stronger than ever. It’s good to be humble in our accomplishments, but it’s better when we’re reminded that we’re capable of amazing feats.
So go forth and remember the life you’ve led, and reflect on the potential you can achieve. Shake off the bad that has clung to you in life and reach out to your hopes and dreams. If nothing else, enjoy the chocolate!