So, over the next three days, I have the pleasure of featuring three different, lovely bloggers, all of whom will be writing about Easter traditions and what this occasion means to them.
The first of these is the fabulous DorkyMum. A Scottish woman now living in Hertfordshire, Ruth has been writing her blog for just under a year and started it as a way to get back into writing after two years as a full time Mum. She writes about everything from parenting and photography to politics and poetry.
DorkyMum, take it away...
I am a big fan of Easter. It falls at a wonderful time of the year – when the cold, dark days of winter have (mostly) turned into the warm, breezy, bright days of spring.
Almost as much as Christmas does, Easter reminds me of childhood; of painting eggshells, of hot cross buns covered in melting butter, and of crinkly foil paper in hundreds of colours. Easter means happiness and hope.
|Image courtesy of DorkyMum|
I was brought up in a place - a small island off the north west coast of Scotland - that takes its religion very seriously. Primary school pupils on the island still start and end their day with a recital of the Lord's Prayer. The Sabbath is still observed very strictly*. The gates to children’s playgrounds are locked up on Sundays, so that no-one can use them, and people are discouraged from ‘sinful’ behaviour like hanging their washing out, or playing noisily in their gardens. The majority of shops and cafes are closed on Sundays too, and there is no public transport.
So by the time I was five or six - despite the fact that my family were not churchgoers themselves at that time - I knew the story of Easter.
The problem for me with that particular interpretation of Christianity – the island kind - is the lack of joy. I like a bit of joy to go along with my faith, and my upbringing didn't provide that. I remember when I grew a little older, seeing an American gospel choir on television, and being shocked by it. Why on earth were these people standing up and smiling and clapping in church?! Why were they so happy?! Churches in the islands don’t even have organs to accompany the hymn singing!
I will be honest. Despite my upbringing in a very holy place – perhaps even because of that – my personal faith is definitely a work in progress. I definitely believe in something bigger than me, but whether that is a Christian God or not... hmmm. Right now, for me, it doesn’t feel like it is.
But until I am more sure, one way or the other, we will keep celebrating Christian holidays. We will definitely be celebrating Easter in this house this year… but we will be making sure it is all about the joy. We will be celebrating spring – the warm days and the bright flowers that are now out in the park. We will be scoffing hot cross buns, and painting eggs. We will be happy, and we will be full of hope. For now, for me, I think that is enough.
|Image courtesy of DorkyMum|
*An anecdote, which has no relevance to Easter, but is worth sharing to demonstrate the seriousness of Sabbath observance. The first time I took my husband to visit the islands, we thought we’d better keep my family happy, and accompany them to church for the Sunday service. All the members of the congregation take it in turns, week about, to go to the church early and make tea and coffee for the elders. This week, it was my family’s turn, so my husband and I had to go along too. We were busy in the church kitchen, when the Minister popped his head in the door.
“Can a couple of you come and give me a hand?” he said.
My husband and I followed him out.
“I need you to stack a lot of chairs over there in front of that cupboard,” he said. “A big tall tower, make sure no-one could get in there.”
We did as we were asked, giving each other a little look, because it seemed a bit odd, but whatever…
“Thank you,” said the Minister, when we were finally done. “It’s just that this is the room where the wee children will be coming for Sunday School in a few minutes.”
We looked at him, still puzzled.
“Well poor Mrs M died last night, and the mortuary is closed until Monday, so we’ve had to just out her in there for now. I don’t want any of the wee ones opening the door by mistake!”