Monday, 13 April 2009

Easter

We are told that Easter Sunday is the day on which the resurrection of Jesus Christ is marked. If there is any other reason why this day is important in the Christian religion, then I suppose it is the fact that it marks the end of lent, the season of fasting and penitence that commenced 40 weekdays earlier on Ash Wednesday. In reality however, in modern times, just like Christmas the religious significance of this day is shunted aside and what Easter appears to have become for most of the Christian world is a holiday weekend, starting on the Friday before. Of course, there is the obligatory movie or two on television about the life of Christ, or some other similar biblical story, and then, at least in every country where I have happened to be when Easter came along, the compulsory live broadcast on Easter Sunday morning of that dreary Mass at the Basilica in Rome. While I cannot dispute that there are those who hold this day in reverence, what seems more apparent to me is that most people think of this weekend as a holiday. Bars, pubs and restaurants are packed full of people having a good time. On the Thursday before Good Friday, many people leave work early and because schools have broken up since the Friday before, airports, train stations and coach stations struggle to cope with the mad scurry out of town of those who wish to spend these precious few days of holiday someplace else. And of course since the railway companies have announced clearly that major engineering works are scheduled for the Easter weekend, you miss your train on Thursday at your peril. And then the roads. Early on Thursday morning, traffic reports on the radio warn that this day is traditionally the busiest day on the road network.

Why all this commotion, one wonders. Is it really because Jesus died? Did Jesus die and rise from the dead so we may gorge ourselves with food and ingest as much alcohol as we can? Where is the connection between Jesus resurrection and Easter eggs?

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