Easter time! Whether one celebrates the anniversary of (a) the moon goddess mating with the sun god at vernal equinox and conceiving a child born at winter solstice (not Jesus); (b) their god(s) death/rebirth/descension into the underworld to challenge the forces there, and victorious re-emergence; (c) the brutally murdered son of God (Jesus) disappearing from a sealed tomb and apparating before select persons before ascending into the heavens; or (d) the last time one consumed a ginormous chocolate bunny is not important. The important thing is that you do something. (See my post about Observing State Holidays). One of my daughter’s friends stated recently that he no longer receives Easter baskets. That, in fact, he only remembers receiving a few in early childhood; that one year he and his sibling(s) awakened not only to find that there were no baskets, but to have the entire holiday summarily explained/dismissed with, “The Easter Bunny is not real.” If someone ever invents a time machine, and if I can somehow get my hands on one, I will travel through space and time and deliver justice to those parents. And candy to those kids. Believe me when I say that a little childhood magic goes a long way.
I can remember waking up to no Easter basket when I was a kid — and, being devastated, running to my dad’s room to beat on the door and demand an explanation. And I remember my dad coming out all wild-eyed and crazy-haired — sharing our outrage, and running out the front door yelling that there was no way in hell that he would allow the Easter Bunny to get away with slighting his kids. I remember laughing/feeling slightly nervous about my dad having to track down/beat up the Easter Bunny to get our baskets, being about 98% sure that wasn’t happening, yet delighting in the possibility that it was/did. I am convinced that considering that possibility made me a better person. What is the value of imagination?
What is real? I still have occasion to grapple with the question. I am now aware that my dad did not beat up the Easter Bunny, and that our baskets were most likely stashed in the trunk of the car. I understand now that he was “Santa”. These discoveries were not traumatic for me because they occurred naturally. I was never told to believe or not believe; I was merely presented with a story. How I processed it was up to me. Enter the Velveteen Rabbit. As a child, I was struck by the idea that toys become “real” when they are loved enough, and the idea is no less appealing today. How does an acquaintance become a friend? How does a friend become a lover? How does an idea become a song or an artistic masterpiece? How does a story become a classic? The same way the Velveteen Rabbit became real – they are loved enough. Who wants to read a story about a stuffed animal that lays out in the rain/mud until it becomes mildewed and…bug colonized…and peed on by various creatures until it is chewed up in the lawnmower the following summer? Not me! Reality will catch us all, eventually. Meanwhile, let there be magic. Even if you have to fight someone/something for it — or just say you did.
Again, and in conclusion, it is not important how you observe Easter. It is only important that you do, in whatever manner seems best to you — and by “you” I, of course, mean “me,” inasmuch as I know what is best, and I insist that your observance includes a good story and some candy. I will never be accused of slighting my own – or allowing them to be slighted by any magical holiday person/thing. Nor will I allow it to be said of or done to any child, once I have the ability to travel through space and time to dispense candy and justice. Govern yourselves accordingly. Holiday observed.