I love chocolate. Fortunately our mother was not keen on decorating hard boiled eggs so Easter was always one of my favorite holidays.
However I could never reconcile the intensity of crucifixion, death and resurrection with the whimsy of bunnies with baskets. Without any explanation or conversation about this in my family or church, the two fell into a strange co-existence with no apparent relationship beyond a shared Sunday celebration. And that was another mystery. While other holidays land on the same date every year, Easter Sunday hops all over the calendar.
I would discover much later in life that Easter is always the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. Dates based entirely on cycles of the sun and moon. Entirely pagan. I can totally understand why neither parents nor pastor sat us down to explain the finer points of the holiday since the themes of eggs, rabbits, and resurrection all have deep roots in Earth based spirituality with traditions and celebrations reaching back hundreds if not thousands of years before christianity.
The calculation of Easter was long a sore point with the Catholic Church. With celestial dating and fertility rites – enter the rabbit – of the holiday firmly rooted in Ireland the holy church worked hard to expunge all of it. It was a topic hotly debated at the Synod of Whitby in 664. However on this issue they weren’t successful.
The calculation remains as it always has been as every year Mother Earth demonstrates her fertility and fulfills her promise of life’s resurrection. Her basket is filled with flowers, her rabbits and eggs symbols of celebration. No matter the spiritual tradition, this is a season worthy of celebration.