Easter is just like any other time for me. Good Friday, Easter Sunday, just days.
Living in the southern hemisphere, it’s autumn now. Sydney has lovely autumns. The weather turns milder after the roaring heat-rage of summer, with its sweat-soaked humid nights and scorching days. None of the deciduous trees have turned any colour yet. Everything is green and vibrant, blooms bob in the gentle breeze and there is a complete absence of the relief felt in the wake of a biting winter, giving way to the season for renewal and rebirth.
That’s what Easter is all about, really.
Rebirth after winter.
The egg. The hare (not rabbit), the symbol of Eostre, the heathen goddess of spring whose lunar-oriented festival became appropriated by the Christian church in the kind of corporate takeover to make modern tycoons gasp and sigh with dewy-eyed reverence and envy. In Sydney though, nothing’s being reborn. We’re not entering spring, and it’s not as if winter is ever that devastating anyway. Winter might see deciduous trees denuded of leaves, but it doesn’t snow here. Furry animals don’t hibernate as such. Birds hang around, usually demanding tasty morsels at the back door. Since Australia remains a vestige of British culture subject to religious dominance, at the early stages of autumn we celebrate a spring festival rife with heathen symbolism, overlain with Judaeo-Christian propaganda like the best of them. A salient reminder of our cultural overlords thousand of kilometres away who barely even remember us on our birthday.
My mother—being Scottish—resolutely retains all the traditions of Easter. The cards. Eggs. Various decorations. Hot cross buns. It might be autumn, but the house gets cleaned to put every spring clean to shame. Bedding gets completely changed. Floors are vacuumed with extra vigour, tiles polished to a gleaming shine. It’s Friday, and she prepares a midday meal of fish and bread, a smile on her face, humming all the while. It’s all rather sweet, and what makes her happy makes me happy. I don’t eat chocolate eggs or bunnies or hot cross buns or any of that (partly because of my diabetes but mostly because I personally feel no need to celebrate any rite of spring when it’s autumn), but I won’t begrudge her traditions. I don’t begrudge anyone their traditions, so if you get a kick out of Easter or Passover or whatever and what you find it stands for, then Happy Easter, Chag Sameach, whatever seasonal greeting you feel applies.
Me? It’s another day.
Hey, what’s that delicious smell?
Ooh yum. Fish!