by Anura Guruge
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When I started to make a concerted attempt to try and understand all of the (and they do have a lot) Jewish holidays I quickly realized that our Pavlovian “HAPPY << name of holiday >>” is not appropriate for all holidays.
Though I am but a reformed, born-again heathen as a papal historian (cum author) and British cathedral connoisseur I do fully understand and appreciate all the nuances of Easter. Plus as with Christmas I have celebrated Easter, with abandonment, all my life.
I am from the school that maintains that ‘Good’ is by NO MEANS the right word for this, the Easter, Friday. Some of the older terms, especially BLACK Friday, are more appropriate — some of the others having been: Holy Friday, Great Friday and Easter Friday.
So, forgive me, IF I don’t wish you a “Happy Easter” today. I will do that on the right day — Sunday.
Yes, I am all set for Easter. Teischan, last Monday, made sure that I would not forget — as if I have ever forgotten a holiday. I live for holidays — a legacy of growing up in Ceylon in the 1960s when, on average, we had a holiday at least once a month, some say every 18 days (if you count the monthly Full Moon, which was for a time a holiday each month). I went shopping on Wednesday: Toy-R-Us, Dollar Store and Walmart. Still need to get more eggs, real ones, for the egg hunt. Ham is thawing. In Ceylon, where I celebrated Easter with my Baptist, lawyer surrogate-father, we would have the finest, imported New Zealand lamb for Easter.
The word ‘Easter’ itself has nothing to do with the Christian holiday, in much the same way that Christmas came about from a pagan Winter Solstice holiday. The name ‘Easter’ comes from the name of an old Anglo-Saxon ‘Spring’ (re-birth) goddess, Ēostre. Yes, it was an old Spring holiday.
All that may be, lets wait until Sunday for the “Happy” part.
Got me thinking again. I am sure that at least 60% of young Americans will not be able to tell you what Easter is all about. I remember seeing a news story about it. Maybe I can find another story, from this year, on this intriguing topic — Americans having no idea as to what Easter signifies.