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November 20, 2018

Why Easter means very little to me

In the industry where I work, April is regarded as the beginning of the low season. This is the season where we have to go back to the granary and get what you need, if you had saved any, during the times of harvest. It follows therefore that the month of April, in our world, is not something to talk about home.

It is the season of heavy rains, which translates to fewer tourists, which also translate into no more five course meals in five star bush lodges. It means life thrusts you back to reality. But for the clever ones, life goes on.

Savings were done when appropriate. When everybody else is thinking about going home for a holiday called Easter, I am thinking about going home because there is not much to do here in Nairobi during the low season. Basically, Easter does not mean much to me.

I stopped thinking about Easter as a religious holiday, when I could not adequately plan for it in advance like we do during Christmas. The biggest issue with the planning for Easter holiday is the fact that the dates are never constant.

When Christmas comes, it is easy to relate to it since, although there is still controversy surrounding the actual dates when the son of God was born, at least they came up with a date that is ever constant.

Whether it falls in the weekdays or weekend, the date 25th of December is the day the holy man was born. It is a day well honored and observed by even the non-Christians.

Most importantly, the story of the birth of Christ flows and is easily remembered by all since the date is fixed, and the celebrations were started by Christians and have been maintained by Christians. Non-Christians follow the holy day easily since even in our homes we still celebrate birthdays for ourselves and our loved ones as well.

 Come to think about Easter. We are supposed to celebrate the death of the same son of God born on 25th December. But here there is a problem. We don’t seem to agree when exactly, Jesus Son of God, or son of David, died.

Sometimes the date is late march, sometimes early April, and sometimes like it happened this year, the date falls in the middle of the month. How can the date of death for someone, change every year?

Since we know that it is impossible for the dates of the death of Jesus to change every so often, then we may as well conclude that we don’t know what exactly we celebrate during Easter. Like many other religious rites, they were introduced to us in Africa by the missionaries.

We accepted without questions and all we do is wait until the day arrives and we go about the rituals and, several dead goats latter, we are back to work. No questions asked. We go to the markets and buy gifts.

Those who have had an opportunity to go out of the country will come up with the ideas picked up abroad, of including bunnies in their gift sets. The eater decorated egg is becoming more popular nowadays.

People are getting more “sophisticated” in the art of copying ideas. What are the eggs for? Which part of the story do the eggs play? If I were to share a little of what I know about Easter. the name comes from a tribe in German which had a Goddess named Eastre, or simply “ostara.

She was the Goddess of spring, the season that comes after the cold, dark winter. This means that the celebrations were actually done by the pagans of northern Europe, to usher in the good season of spring, where flowers come alive and trees regain their leaves and all that comes with the season. They shared gifts among themselves. Part of the gift, was a decorated egg. Spring was a time when birds mated, made nests and laid eggs. An egg was a symbol of life. From it, new life will begin. How this mutated into a Christian holy day is a subject for another day.

But suffice it to say, that we must embrace a culture of inquisitiveness, as we emancipate ourselves from continued mental slavery, (bob Marley) where we absorb western cultures and practice them without a pinch of salt.

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