I spent most of today with my friend Niki's family- she of the forcing me to watch The Other Boleyn Girl- and at this moment am on my couch in my apartment, filled to the brim with sweet potato pie and biscuits, listening to Placebo's album Meds and most emphatically not writing my research proposal for my foucault seminar.
Easter in my family was always a big deal in that it wasn't made into a big deal. When we were all younger the family gatherings on this day always included an easter egg hunt, my cousins and my sister and I running around whichever backyard the festivities were held in looking for plastic eggs filled with chocolate. We haven't had an easter egg hunt in forever, pretty much since my cousins got to high school- with only two younger kids, it would be a pretty lame hunt. The hunt always followed the big Easter meal, which always followed a service at church in which the Alleluia banner got dug up and we all sang "Up From The Grave He Rose." The monday after Easter my friends would usually compete to see who got a larger chocolate bunny in their basket. It wasn't until I got to college that I found someone who actually got gifts for Easter-- Jesus is risen, have an iPod.
When I was about eight I asked my mom why we didn't get Easter baskets. All my friends got them; I had very dim memories of being in our old house when I was about three, getting a small chocolate rabbit on Easter morning. Mom replied that "They've taken Christmas- I won't let them have Easter, too."
I didn't really understand her meaning when I was eight. I was more pissed about the fact that I didn't get chocolate when EVERYONE ELSE I KNEW was put into a semi-diabetic coma from overconsumption of Peeps while I was praying and chasing my cousins around the yard. I understand it now, though, and understood it even more when I was in line at starbucks and saw a little book next to the register. I forget the title, but it was some kind of children's book and the tagline was "Finding our Easter friends!" Kind of a Where's Waldo*, but for bunnies. Or something.
They have, for all intents and purposes, taken Easter. It's been coopted as another excuse to sell candy and Hallmark cards, just like Christmas. This is nothing new, of course, and I shouldn't be surprised. It does make me sad, however. Today, eating ham around Niki's dining room table, I was reminded of those Easters with my family back home. Easter is about Jesus and family; having woken up too late for the one, I'm glad I got to experience the other, even if I'm far from home.
*Speaking of Where's Waldo, the people who brought you "There Will Be Bud" bring you this magical gem: