Maybe Easter is a bit more important than I thought.

Lockdown Easter has given me some time to reflect on the holiday. Why it’s important, why we do this every year and what influence the traditions and stories of Easter have had on me.

Weaving several strands of thinking together has led me to the conclusion that I think Easter provides an important moment in the year for people to pause and engage with the stories and traditions of Easter that are important for them, their families and communities.

Having social traditions and shared stories is important to me and having ones that extend through time attempting to pass on wisdom and teaching both interest me and inform my thinking about the world. Easter provides me an opportunity to reflect on these stories and traditions.

The reason this thinking came to light is that recently Easter has not been a holiday of particular importance to me despite being raised going to churches and listening to stories around Easter which essentially conclude that the commemoration we undertake from that point of view may be the most important in the Christian calendar.

Reflecting on the break we have at Easter this year has given me and an appreciation for the holiday.

This is a time to stop and reflect, it provides a pause for the chaos and speed of modern life and, for me, a time to think about my circumstances, family and the stories I want to engage with and pass on.

It has always struck me as odd that we legislate a holiday commemorating the story of sacrifice and forgiveness from Christianity. Not because I do not like the story, I think it is quite a useful one for grounding thinking about morality and culture. The reason I find it odd is that my views on religion and spirituality are personal, it is not something I feel the need to discuss with people outside of broader sociological conversations about what motivates people.

But the broader social phenomenon that occurs at Easter is the way people come together with their families and friends.

While I have some time for pondering, I have turned my mind to the old traditions of my childhood and started to think about whether they are more important than I gave them credit for.

For me, I grew up as the grandson two Presbyterian ministers and Easter was a time of year where the stories of sacrifice and forgives were told as a pre-requisite to an Easter Egg Hunt.

As I grew older these traditions faded and new traditions took over across the Easter period. My University days saw me involve myself heavily in University debating and, subsequently, attending the “Easters’ tournament on an annual basis (it is a time of the year where every university has a shared holiday).

But, in the absence of any planned tradition this year outside of the mandated holiday, I find myself thinking back on the experience of my grandfathers and how Easter is important to their faith.

About a year ago one of my grandfathers shared with me some of the stories that helped to guide his faith. I found this to be an extraordinarily moving experience gaining an insight into a core motivation to a man who has acted like such an important role model.

At a similar time, I was reading a written sermon from my other Grandfather that I had stumbled across and had a similar appreciation of learning a little about one of the people who has influenced my choices in life.

Both these examples resonated with me this easter as I have been thinking of the importance of having tradition and shared stories.

Understanding stories that inform the thinking of people helps me to understand the people and when those people are important to me, that’s a valuable thing.

Practising tradition is something I think is important. It links people together. My wife is an example of this, baking a German easter bread for Easter and talking to me about some of the traditions from a different part of the world. It made me want traditions of our own that reflected where I have come from and what has influenced me.

I don’t think there is any profound point to where I have arrived with my thinking. More this is simply me expressing a level of gratitude for the holiday of Easter. It has reminded me of the different ways it has been important to me over the years and motivates me to look more into the stories and rituals that my family and friends use to engage with it.

For me, this probably means I will go and explore the biblical stories of Easter again and talk to my grandparents about the importance they place on these stories but it also raises the prospect that I need to find ways to build my traditions for my little unit of my family about the holiday, whether it be through the food we prepare or stories we tell.

Maybe Easter is a bit more important than I thought.

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When I write things it’s to clear my head. Politics, history, reading, free thoughts.

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JBP

JBP

When I write things it’s to clear my head. Politics, history, reading, free thoughts.

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