It seems like only yesterday that we were unwrapping our Christmas presents and eating our turkies (or not, as the case may be)…
… but once again we find ourselves filling our bellies with seasonal chocolates shaped like eggs, bunnies and chicks. And lets face it – we LOVE it!
I thought I’d take this opportunity to tell you all about what Easter means to me as a theology student, quasi-Christian, and follower of a plant-based lifestyle.
So Easter is the celebration of Jesus’s death (sounds weird, hear me out) during which several separate days are combined to form one ‘umbrella’ festival.
The Easter build up actually starts with Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, just over a month ago. With these we celebrate the start of Christ’s 40 days in the wilderness, ourselves partaking in the tradition of Lent. You may have given up chocolate or cake for these forty days (I gave up laziness and let me tell you, I failed). Lent is about religious fasting and penance, about being alone with God and reflection.
In fact, I was lucky enough to attend an Ash Wednesday service given by the ex-Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, in which he discussed the importance of being humble in lent – not blowing your own trumpet about how long you’ve gone without sweets! (I speak very simply, of course)
Good Friday (last Friday) is the day of Jesus’ murder by crucifixion. A friend and colleague of mine at Durham, the lovely Nell, has written this beautiful post about what Good Friday means to her – I’d definitely recommend giving it a read!
Good Friday is followed by Holy Saturday in which we commemorate Jesus’ body lying peacefully in the tomb.
And that leads us on to today, Easter Sunday! Here we celebrate Christ’s resurrection from the dead, and all of its fabulous implications for mankind.
…Of course, the Easter story does not end there as we celebrate events such as Ascension in May!
(Please forgive me if I have managed to forget anything, or miss anything out! I’ve tried to be as brief as possible so as not to get too boring!)
So what does this mean to me?
Growing up in an intensely secular household Easter predominantly meant chocolate, revision, my late grandma’s Simnel Cake and roast lamb until very recently.
However, as a theologian and quasi-Christian, Easter has recently come to mean quite a lot more to me (not least in the fact that I wouldn’t be studying for my degree without it!)
Easter is about remembrance and admiration for love – whether you believe in the love of God or not. It is about the celebration of new life in the face of the ending winter, light overcoming dark. (See, Dr. Lang, I do listen in class…)
Whether you remember Christ’s death and resurrection as implicit of God’s intense love for man, or simply remember Easter as a time of family and beginnings, there is no doubting the importance of the season.
As someone embracing a plant-based lifestyle, the promise of Spring also brings cause for happiness (despite a severe lack of vegan chocolate alternatives to the Lindt Bunny). Fruits and vegetables are coming into season and I personally CANNOT WAIT for nectarine season (sad, I know).
Easter means the regrowth of the soil and of the earth, the light of summer overcoming the darkness of winter, and good overcoming evil.
It’s up to you to attribute your own spiritual or religious beliefs to this metaphor.