Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Re-thinking Easter

Before Penelope was born I told Bryan "The Easter Bunny or Santa Claus", meaning that I would only consent to celebrate one holiday involving a deity in which I didn't believe. I was only going to lie to my children about one magical creature. He chose Santa so we haven't ever "celebrated" Easter.

I may be changing my mind.

First off, I never understood why someone would celebrate a holiday if they weren't going to celebrate the religious aspects. The purpose behind Christmas and Easter is a Christian purpose, isn't it? Yes, the timing of the holidays was co-opted and originally belonged to the pagans (of multiple varieties) but the current incarnations of the holidays revolve around Jesus. And I don't believe Jesus (if he existed) was the son of god, so why on Earth would I celebrate the holidays revolving around his mythology?

But then I started to talking to some other Atheist moms and they had some very good points. One of which is that modern celebrations are generally secular, the icons are originally pagan (x-mas tree, eggs, etc), and celebrating the change in the seasons is a valid reason to gorge yourself on candy. Ok, so the last reasons isn't that compelling, but it was a reason mentioned. It was also pointed out to me that celebrating these holidays would be an excellent teaching opportunity - I could explain to the kids the origins of the traditions, discuss who celebrates what and why, and get them to think about diversity.

Of course, should we celebrate Easter this year there won't be much discussion or debate, but as the kids get older it would be yet another way for me to expose my children to diversity of belief, traditions, and begin conversations about the evolution of thought, religion, and culture.

And yes, I DO manage to take all the fun out of everything.

1 comment:

  1. I think you are forgetting a main point to why celebration of these holidays is such a big deal. If you take away all the religious and pagan crap what are you left with? Family. Growing up, I always thought about my family and how I couldn't wait to share the day with them. Now, my family might be completely different from what you know but we don't have many opportunities to all get together and share stories and all the good cooking we accomplished. Even celebrating Halloween is a fantastic childhood memory that I never want to forget. I understand why you are concerned with sharing these holidays with your children, but I would highly recommend starting some traditions with your children that you can one day share with your grandchildren and so on.


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