We're gearing up for Easter and this will be mine and Nia's first time participating in both Good Friday and Easter service together at our church. Along with Christmas, Easter is one of the highest-attended church services of the year and also marks the celebration of spring and all things new.
Similar to mine and Nia's discussions about Santa Claus, Nia's started to inquire about the Easter bunny especially after we received an Easter mailing from Toys"R"Us and her big, all-seeing eyes caught sight of it. Since she's a big time Kindergartner reading and all, she did a quick scan of the flyer and asked why we received the mailing AND if she can get a toy for Easter.
I recall getting small Easter baskets occasionally as a kid, but never celebrated the secular side of Easter with visits or talk of the Easter bunny. The Easter baskets I did receive were so minor in my childhood understanding of Easter and never overshadowed the true meaning of the holiday. I'm just thankful I dodged experiencing something like this crazy Easter bunny brawl I saw took place in our old hood of Jersey City over the weekend! Now as an adult while Easter candy is indeed my favorite holiday candy, intellectually, I understand the pagan influences on how Americans celebrate Easter as with other religious holidays.
It can become a bit complicated when you have your own kids though.
We want our children to come into their own faith experience and so far with Nia she is one kid who does not stand for any kind of glossing over things. When I explained what Palm Sunday was she flat out told me, "No, that didn't happen."
What I love about kids is their honesty, and as a family of faith I appreciate how Nia keeps me and Uka on our toes. I recall reading The Case for Faith when I first started attending my NYC church, and I liked how author Lee Strobel acknowledged the importance of critical thinking in one's religious beliefs. I never want to be sheeple - I'll always be asking questions, and I expect my children to do the same.
Speaking of critical thinking, with the debut of Tyler Perry's Easter movie yesterday, it was completely off my radar until Uka brought it up to me a few days ago, and then we discussed it briefly over Skype with my parents. While Uka and I didn't watch it (the Fox+Tyler Perry combo's a major turnoff) this Salon piece today continued mine and Uka's discussion about attempts at sharing faith on secular platforms. I don't believe in a "by whatever means necessary approach," and I get wary of what happens when people mistake following individuals vs. following the principles of their faith (one of my favorite bloggers Awesomely Luvvie recently touched on this so well here).
What's important to me this Easter season, and as always, is being involved in my church and sharing my faith with those in my community while respecting their own beliefs. It's also important that as my children grow to continue to have candid and honest discussions of faith with them.
Oh and I'll still be enjoying my Easter candy stash (I'm a sucker for Cadbury mini-eggs and Resse's peanut butter eggs!).
Do you celebrate holidays differently from how you grew up? (And a bonus point if you tell me your favorite Easter candy!)