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Snowy Easter Celebrations

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A frozen founatin down the road from my grandparents’ house… on Easter in Maryland!

As an atheist with a Christian heritage, I still enjoy holidays such as Easter and Christmas even though I don’t believe in God or religious miracles. Fortunately, my family is not especially religious. My family is nominally Christian, but we rarely go to church.

I am happy, though, to accompany my relatives to church for Easter or other important holidays for tradition’s sake. These days, I view my occasional church visits as a cultural experience and a way to be respectful of my family. Just as I am respectful of religious weddings and funerals, I am respectful when my relatives want the family to go to church on important days. Often, though, my family doesn’t even attend church on important Chrisitian holidays. Instead, we usually just make efforts to cook food and spend time together. This suits me just fine as a heathen atheist.

I went to visit my grandparents this past weekend, but I didn’t go to church or think much about Jesus. Instead, I foused on spending some quality time with my family, which is the best way for me to enjoy a holiday. I ate great food, including my grandfather’s butter-loaded heart attack mashed potatoes and my grandmother’s famous green bean casserole. I went shopping with my grandmother, who was dismayed that more stores weren’t open on Easter day. I drank rum and coke with my grandfather, who is very proud of his well-stocked bar. His rum and cokes consist of rum, ice, and a trace amount of coke that is barely detectable. I also walked laps around the indoor shopping mall with my grandmother (since it was snowing in Maryland this weekend!), had lunch with a college friend, and tortured my grandparents’ cat as I used to do as a child. Naturally, I also consumed large quantities of chocolate Easter eggs. I tried to make an Easter snowbunny this weekend, but there wasn’t quite enough snow.

As an atheist, I don’t consider Easter day any more holy than any other day. However, I am glad to reserve the day, traditionally, for spending time with family. I think many atheists and agnostics are like me in how I approach religious holidays. I still value Christian holidays and many Christian traditions– largely because I love my family and enjoy spending time with them– even though I don’t believe in God and his miracles.

So, what did everyone else do for Easter? Besides eat plenty of chocolate, of course?


Evelyn is a geologist, writer, traveler, and skeptic residing in Cape Town, South Africa with frequent trips back to the US for work. She has two adorable cats; enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and kayaking; and has a very large rock collection. You can follow her on twitter @GeoEvelyn. She also writes a geology blog called Georneys.

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  1. Easter breakfast was a tradition in my family growing up. I actually had a long weekend since we had Good Friday off thanks to the Catholic owner of the company I work for, and I did a lot of spring cleaning at my house over the weekend.

    During a break on Saturday, I was watching some selections from my DvD set of Wonderfalls, and there is an episode where a pancake features prominently in the story. I noted that it had been a really long time since I had eaten pancakes and got a big craving for pancakes. Since I had been working hard for two days, I decided I could indulge in one sugary breakfast, so I had pancakes for Easter breakfast…and real orange juice which I also rarely let myself have.

    One coda to all this is that I enjoyed the pancakes so much that I had more for dinner. This is all the reminder I needed as to why I don't keep pancake mix in the house.

  2. I didn't do anything for Easter, actually. Of course, most of my family is a 10 hour plane flight away. Back when I was still living in Hawaii, I used to go with my dad and brother to church for Easter and random other Sundays. I was still nominally Christian then, but I stopped being particularly interested in church around the sixth grade. Still, I went because it made my dad happy. I don't consider the time particularly wasted, particularly since the church my dad was going to at the time (New Hope, for reference) wasn't particularly oriented toward fire, brimstone, and gay-hating or anything like that. It was more of a warm-fuzzy type of church, which I could certainly deal with once or twice a year.

  3. I actually had no idea it was Easter until somebody asked me about it on Monday….

    So I mostly played World of Warcraft and read the new Dresden Files book.

  4. My Grammy does "Oysters for Easter" every year. Everyone comes over and they steam the oysters and then keep them warm on the BBQ. They also fry up razor clams. I hate Oysters but I love the tradition. Neither my husbands family nor mine attend church so it is an all day eat-a-thon.

  5. Lessee…spent my Holy Thursday assiting a classmate in making a film in the style of Dreyer (and based on a bible story) about Jesus resurrecting a girl, which we shot in the 300+ year old crypt of a church. So that was, to say the least, interesting.

    Good Friday was uneventful, Holy Saturday involved playing World of Warcraft (you're not alone, Psharp), meeting a friend from high school who happened to be visiting London, and seeing the new sci-fi film Sunshine. Easter itself was, again, uneventful (I cooked chicken), but on the Bank Holiday Monday (here in the UK at least) I met up with friends for a wine and cheese picnic (despite my not liking cheese and not drinking alcohol), took a few hours off to go see Harry Potter nude in Equus, and then rejoined the wine and cheese party until about 6:00am.

    So that was my Easter holiday…quite different from the normal 'get together with family and eat a big lunch' of years when I'm NOT in another country :-P

  6. The new Dresden Files book is out?! Have to run …

    Wait. It occurs to me that just because Psharp has a copy does not mean it is released in Australia. I'll be checking at lunchtime though!!

    Easter was a bit of a bust – I worked through most of it. We get a public holiday for Good Friday and Easter Monday but I work for an American firm so I could have the days off but none of my deadlines were changed. So I worked from home which is a marginal improvement over going to the office. Very marginal!

    I ate some chocolate though so it is all good.

    I am craving pancakes now. Darn you TheCzech.

  7. Hmmm… Let's see…

    Maundy Thursday: Sang with a men's choir at my church

    Saturday: Made a peach-mango pie for dessert. Next time less almond extract! Love that Dole frozen fruit. Went to Target to get stuff for the kids' Easter egg hunt (plastic eggs with candy).

    Easter: Had the egg hunt with the kids. Sang for both services at church. One nice gospel-ly piece called "They Rolled the Stone Away", and our annual Hallelujah Chorus. The choir kicked ass on that one, if I don't say so myself! Both times! Made a turkey, with sweet potato souffle, stuffing and cranberry sauce for Easter dinner. Then back to church to practice more songs with my a capella quartet for next Sunday's service!

    I may be a heretic, but I do love to sing!

    Currently attempting not to dip into the kids candy stashes when they're not looking! Get thee behind me, jelly beans!

  8. As a teacher I had ten whole days off, while the average Norwegian only gets a five and a half day weekend. For the first part I immersed myself in my genealogy database and the Norwegian church records from the 19th and 18th century available online.

    On Wednesday I went to visit grandma and my uncle, aunt and cousins. Thursday I drove another mile to get to my best friends farm, and I spent Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning there. Played with his kids, helped clear away some thorny thickets along the road, played Settlers of Catan with my friend and his wife, oh, and my brother, almost forgot about him coming along, and I played Alcatraz with my friend and his brother.

    Then I went home on Saturday and spent Easter doing nothing, reading Janet Evanovich and George R.R. Martin, and worrying about the tests I should have been grading. I've still to grade those tests actually.

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