Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Non-Christian Easter Celebration

How do non-Christians celebrate Easter? 

I know how non-Christians celebrate Christmas.  It's pretty much the same sort of things our family does, minus the church services.   But our Easter celebration is almost exclusively the church services.  Okay, we eat ham for dinner, but we do that on non-Easter days too.  And depending on the ages and availability of children/grandchildren, we either hide some M&M's in plastic eggs, or just break open the bag of M&M's.  Eating M&M's isn't normal for us; that's something unusually celebratory.  But c'mon, ham and M&M's surely isn't much of a celebration for normal people.

When I was at work during Holy Week, I listened to people wish each other "happy Easter!"  And this week, I've heard people talk about their Easter celebration.  I don't know what that means, though.  As I've listened, I gather it's got something to do with families getting together and candy.  Some people who don't usually go to church might go to church for Easter.  But many don't, and yet they still "celebrate Easter." 

I suppose Christians in other parts of the world are befuddled by American celebrations of secular Christmas.   But I am befuddled by what's involved in an American celebration of secular Easter.  Anybody have some clues?  Have you noticed what neighbors, co-workers, or non-Christian family members do to celebrate Easter?


  1. Maybe they dye eggs and the children have an Easter egg hunt. I used to have Easter baskets with candy sitting out for my children when they woke up on Easter morning. But probably the biggest thing for non-Christians is just that it's a vacation day. One of the first days for playing golf perhaps.

  2. One of the young girls at work thought it was odd that the bank was open on Easter Monday. I didn't think that was weird at all. Easter is always a Sunday; it's not a holiday that floats on the days of the week (like Christmas or July 4th). So it didn't seem like a vacation day to me. The kind of people who have off for Easter are the people who usually have off Sundays anyway. The kind of people who work on Sundays (doctors, pastors, waitresses, policemen) work on Easter too.

    I guess I was thinking that Easter baskets and an egg hunt weren't "big" enough to construct a holiday around. But maybe people have made those bigger than I thought. And Sandy, believe me, golf is something that would never enter my mind -- LOL. But yeah, those outdoor activities might be part of celebrating spring.

  3. After being at a tri-parish, this year seemed like so little church to only have one Maundy Thursday, one Good Friday, and one Easter service to go to. So I did some baking and fun things with the boys that we've never had time to do before when we were too busy going to church. Then on Sunday afternoon we were invited to go fishing with some church members. It was so strange to have nice enough weather to go fishing and to be doing that on Easter afternoon. We had a great time and got sunburned. There were lots of people fishing and at the park on Easter afternoon.
    Did you pay any attention to what was in people's grocery carts before Easter? I couldn't believe the huge Easter baskets and all the candy. So I think non-Christians make it a day of a nice meal with the family, huge Easter baskets, going to an Easter egg hunt, dying Easter eggs, and then just spending the time as a family, perhaps fishing or going to the park. In today's busy world maybe they need a "holiday" to take time to do something together as a family.

  4. Ewe, I don't remember noticing people's carts, but I didn't do much shopping. I did have to buy some fabric tape at Walmart during Holy Week, and I noticed there were lots of baskets and candy in some people's carts then. So yeah, I guess you're right.

    And about the desire for a holiday, I see what you mean. My favorite talk show host here gets so perturbed with all the snow days that are called. He says we live in Wisconsin, and 4" of snow shouldn't immobilize the city. But I think part of it is --unadmittedly and even unintentionally-- people's busyness and the need to just STOP sometimes.