That last bit – that “if you celebrate it” – is precisely what I’ll be discussing today. Lately I’ve been pondering what “counts” as “really” celebrating a holiday.
Usually I spend my Sundays working at a restaurant, clearing tables and cleaning up after other people’s messes. (So glamorous, I know. But it’ll help to pay for college tuition and whatnot!) But I have the day off today because IT’S EASTER.
Last week one of the girls at work asked how I would be spending this Sunday: Did I celebrate Easter? A few months ago she’d asked what I was doing for Christmas, so I told her what my family does – none of which is religious. Because we’re atheists/agnostics.
She didn’t phrase the question in an accusatory or weird way, but it still made me think: To what extent can I say that I celebrate Easter? To me, Easter is about making a huge Sunday dinner (this year it’s a leg of lamb and potatoes with SO MUCH GARLIC and some other delicious stuff!) and volunteering at an Easter egg hunt held in a local park and sometimes having relatives visit. To me Easter is about chocolate and bunnies and the coming of spring. Strictly about those things – not those things + church, and definitely not JUST about church.
When Easter rolls around, I’m kind of just along for the ride. I mean, I know I’m not alone in this – plenty of other people don’t follow any religion but still celebrate the religious holidays in one way or another because it’s just kind of a tradition.
It does still feel kind of weird, though, because I hear all kinds of crap about how I’m not doing things the “right” way. Take the NaNoWriMo YWP website, for instance. I haven’t visited that site in months, but their forums were pretty fun. So many kids talking about all sorts of topics – writing and school and books and everything under the sun!
And every December someone’ll post a thread about The True Meaning of Christmas and how If You’re Not Celebrating The Holiday My Way, You’re Doing It Wrong. And I just roll my eyes, because really? I’m not arguing for or against celebrating certain holidays in certain ways. I’m just saying… you do you. If you’re a Christian, go ahead and do your thing, and I’ll do my thing.
To me, Christmas is about family. That’s all that holiday means to me. I wasn’t raised religiously, so my family’s celebrations are entirely secular. And they are for Easter, too. It’s like, “Oh, I have a day off from work? Niiiiiice. YAY FOR A LOVELY EASTER DINNER.” Easter is my favorite holiday from the first half of the year, whether or not I’m celebrating it in the intended way.
For me, it’s more about taking about the break from school and/or work. (Depending on the holiday.) I guess. Like, if school is closed for a particular religious holiday I’m going to be like YAY whether or not I observe that holiday religiously. Most of the holidays during which American schools/businesses are closed are Christian, but if most of them were Jewish, Muslim, et cetera I’m certain I’d be SO EXCITED about those holidays even though little-atheist-me wouldn’t be doing any worship on those days. (“Yay, it’s Eid al-Fitr vacation!”) Because hey – visitors! And food! And a day off from school/work!
It’s adopting a holiday and doing something else with it because even though it’s not quite yours, you’ll have the day off anyway. So why not celebrate, in your own way? (It’s not my fault that I have a day off that I wouldn’t have given myself!)
And I’m pretty sure I’d thought up a decent way to conclude this post, but I’ve forgotten it now. Oops! Anyway, I guess the whole point of writing this post was… to muse about differences between people? The differences between how some of my friends’ families do things and how my family does things? My ideas about some holidays are vastly different from those of my friends because we grew up differently. And that’s OK. I think it’s really interesting to see how different people lead different lives, and what [insert thing here] means to people. I hope you have a lovely day, whether you celebrate Easter religiously or with the Easter bunny or BOTH or neither!
P.S. All the photographs used in this post are my own work! They’re all from the last few springs and have been used in 4-H projects, other posts on this blog, et cetera. I hope you liked them; I thought they added a nice touch of spring-y-ness to today’s musings!