Bear Witness

Students and teachers share traditions for Easter, secular and religious

Fitzgerald Vo/Bear Witness

Fitzgerald Vo/Bear Witness

Fitzgerald Vo/Bear Witness

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By Julia Kolman


Easter is an ancient Christian holiday, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, according to doctrine. An estimated 80 percent of Americans celebrated Easter in 2016, but only 50 percent planned to attend church service. And the rest? They spent their holiday hunting for eggs, eating candy, or spending  time with their family and loved ones. Some common Easter customs date back to Christian symbols, and primarily catch the attention of children and secular celebrators.

Common Easter traditions of egg hunts and candy filled baskets have no relation to the religious roots of the holiday. However, they are centuries old. Some believe the idea of the bunny and egg hunts originated with German immigrants, whose children created colorful nests, which turned into the American custom of baskets. Decorated and chocolate eggs are believed by some Christians to symbolize Jesus’ resurrection and represent new life.

With this, some Easter celebrators aren’t even Christian, and those who are religious do incorporate these modern traditions.

Senior Emilie Jenkins defines the holiday as a “time to remember Jesus Christ in his life and the purpose of his life which was to atone for our sins, and take upon all the bad things we have done.” Her immediate family attends the Easter service, followed by an egg hunt with her extended family, despite many of them not sharing her faith.

Similarly, Junior Kaila Intil attends mass, followed by an egg hunt.

For religious students, the holiday is not strictly an observance of the resurrection. For Kaila, there is “balance because religion comes first and the fun comes after.”

Spanish teacher Ms. Diane MacKinnon attends mass every week, and observes Easter as “the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

Her extended family would previously join together for secular celebrations. On the basis of religion, Ms. MacKinnon states that her “uncle was a priest and would start every dinner with a prayer.”

Branham students and teachers recognize Easter as a Christian day of observance, but do also take time to participate in the fun, modern traditions.

Physics teacher Mr. Chris Chidester does not consider himself a “regular church-goer,” but recognizes and celebrates Easter as an important Christian holiday.

“I don’t necessarily take [Easter] literally, but I feel figuratively, metaphorically, it’s very powerful somewhat in my life, but definitely in other people’s lives,” he said.

Mr. Chidester has a young daughter, so his family celebrates with chocolate bunnies and egg hunts. To him, Easter is “definitely a family thing,” and in the past, his family has attended church.

Easter is, however, not observed by all as a religious holiday; rather a day of fun, family traditions.

For example, junior Ben Sagar’s friends and family have gotten together in years past for an Easter egg hunt with candy or money in the plastic eggs.

Some people do not celebrate Easter as a religious nor a secular day altogether. History teacher Ms. Tania Eaton is turned away from the commercialized and stressed celebrations.

Ms. Eaton, who minored in religion, states the “whole historical precedent for [holidays] is off, and so I know that it is symbolic, but that kind of bothers me as a historian.” Instead, she brings her children to her mom’s house, where the “the adults hide eggs for the kids, and the kids hide eggs for the adults.”

They play fun games, but Ms. Eaton doesn’t observe the day as a significant holiday.

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Students and teachers share traditions for Easter, secular and religious