We did the Easter thing with my family yesterday and on the way up to Buffalo, I mused over why I never quite got why this was such a major holiday. It comes down to a lot of things for me.
First off, when you're raised Catholic, you have four weeks where you're deprived of eating meat on Fridays. I didn't care for fish as a kid, so I ended up eating a lot of macaroni and cheese on Fridays or deep fried shrimp. Fortunately, the mac'n cheese was homemade by the Parkside Diner, so I never got tired of that meal. Then after, all the fasting we finally got to eat meat on Easter Day. Hooray! Except in my family, that means fresh kielbasa and borscht. I've never really enjoyed fresh kielbasa and there was one Easter where I figured if I ate it really fast, I wouldn't be able to taste it. That didn't work out so well and the floor didn't appreciate it either when I upheaved it later. I don't think I have to explain the horror that is borscht. Fortunately, my family has added smoked kielbasa to the Easter offerings as well as ham, so dinner is not dreaded so much.
Going back to religion, I was pretty straight-forward thinking on some issues as a kid. I didn't understand what the big celebration was over the death and rising of Christ. My 9-year old train of thought went sort of like this:
"So, Jesus was a good guy and he got killed for it? And you're telling me he raised from the dead? Okay, I get there being ghosts and angels and stuff but, dude, he's STILL DEAD. Like, it's not like Jesus can hang out and ride bikes with us or climb trees. And we're supposed to super happy about this??? There's still lots of bad people out there, so I dunno if it was worth it."
I know. It's hard to reason with 9-year olds. Plus, I always thought it a bit macabre that not only were we celebrating some revered guy's death, but some of our main icons were of the guy nailed to a couple pieces of wood. Um. Hello? I don't want bloodied, beat-up guy all in my face. Thanks Mr. Jesus for the nightmares as a kid. Add to that the extended church service just because it was a major holy day and my love for Easter was very small.
Getting away from the controversial stuff, Easter falls during a time of year in Western New York that can be either wonderful or snowing. Inevitably, my mom would have picked out a cute, frilly dress for me to wear for Easter. As a kid, I would wear it and shiver because a warm sweater and slacks would have been a better match for the weather. Just try keeping your toes warm in white patent leather shoes when the temperature is 40 degrees!
It wouldn't be fair to not mention to the positive things about Easter. Of course, the candy was always a thrill as a kid. Ham for dinner also was a huge plus once I discovered the delights of Miller's Horseradish spread on each slice. Naturally, time with my family in Buffalo was and still is the biggest plus to the Easter Holiday. So Happy Dyngus Day to everyone!