I suppose I’ve got a bit of a nerve celebrating religious holidays. I’m not religious in the slightest, so what right have I got to the long weekend Australia’s helping itself to for Easter? I almost feel like I’m getting away with something…On the other hand, it makes me feel like a bit of a hypocrite (or should I say heretic?). I’ll take the days off, I’ll eat the hot cross buns (boy, won’t I – I can’t stop eating the damn things…), I might even see my way clear to scoffing some chocolate eggs or devouring an edible rabbit, but take in a church service? No, I won’t be doing that, because I do not believe.
I am sooo rusty when it comes to the story of Easter (I last received religious instruction aged twelve), but I’m pretty sure it’s about Christ rising from the dead. Uh huh. Sure he did. And his mother conceived him without intercourse. Now that really is a miracle! Good for her! Some people find it challenging enough even using conventional methods like sex, so having the odd archangel in your corner would really come in handy. Who needs IVF when Gabriel is giving them away?
I sound sarcastic. Sorry, that’s inappropriate. I do very much respect other people’s sacred right to their different religious beliefs, I just struggle to understand them sometimes myself. It’s so outside my thinking, so entirely other to me that I really marvel at it from a distance.
Which brings me back to my original question: who am I to celebrate Easter, Christmas, and all those other holidays honouring institutions in which I do not believe (the Queen’s birthday, anyone? I wish her every good health, but I still hope Australia becomes a republic)? I’m not really sure I’m entitled to the next couple of days off, and increasingly it makes me uneasy saying things like “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Easter.” I don’t really mean that, do I? I mean have a safe and happy short break. I mean enjoy the time off with family and friends. I mean do you like your hot cross buns toasted or untoasted? Therefore I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t be so casual invoking these religious concepts.
At Christmas time, I suggested in a post that 25 December has evolved into a kind of Thanksgiving holiday for myself and many people I know. And I guess Easter is in a similar category for me. It’s a chance to spend time with Llew, our family and friends. Time we would not otherwise be entitled to. I do wonder, though, since Australia is so secular, and since so much of the flock has flown, just what we think we’re doing. If I’m to celebrate Easter, shouldn’t I believe in it? Because I’ve got this nagging, uncomfortable feeling that what’s become merely a chocolate festival in many homes must really niggle at the people who do.