Getting Cross At Easter!

I probably shouldn't say this, but there are things about Easter that irritate me. I think it's a subject that warrants a little discussion, so bear with me.  

Just as an aside, that phrase 'bear with me' always makes me think of The Perishers in the Daily Mirror from years ago, where one of the characters had a bear called Gladly.  It was called this because it had cross-eyes, from the hymn, 'Gladly , my cross I'd bear'.  Seemed an appropriate aside considering the topic.

I think there are a number of problems with Easter.   Firstly, why do we have this rambling festivity? I don't mean why do we have it at all, just why is it a moveable feast?  No other celebration roams the calendar like this. Your birthday doesn't shamble about the zodiac as it thinks fit. Christmas doesn't leap out at you from behind a bush in August (although October is a distinct possibility, I'll grant you).  You never know where you are with Easter, it can turn up at any time and, as a consequence, the prevailing weather may not be ideal for taking a holiday, like this year where exposure is considerably more likely than a sun-tan.

Then there's the advertising.  In a perfect world, advertisers would really love us to treat Easter as another Christmas.  You can see it in the style of the TV advertising, all glistening and appetising foodstuffs on a laden family table.  I may be wrong (perish the thought) but I think they're on to a loser here.  Easter just does not grab us in the same way.  

For a start off, where's the focal point?  At Christmas, it's pretty obvious that it's Christmas Day.  Sure, the other days play their part, but Christmas Day is the Big One and no mistake.  But how about Easter?  Is it Good Friday?  Hardly seems a time for rejoicing and getting out the festive fayre does it?  Easter Day then?  Well, possibly, but I don't think we'll ever be comfortable about celebrating a particularly brutal murder.  Yes, I know all about the Resurrection, but you have to have all the doom and gloom to get to there, and I'm not even sure that the Church is all that convinced anyway.  Whereas with Christmas, you can't go wrong, everyone loves to celebrate a  birth and the story is the stuff of which childhood memories are built.

Christmas is also about rampant hedonism.  From all sides you are encouraged to 'laissez le bon temps rouler'.  Just about anything is possible and forgiveable.  Easter, on the other hand, is all about guilt and how could it not be?  I'm sure it was a great blow-out in the Middle Ages but, to be fair, after 40 days of the deprivation of Lent, when Lent meant giving up everything remotely pleasurable, not just the odd cream cake, I should think the Plague would have been a barrel of laughs.

Then there's Easter Cards.  I had never even heard of these until I met my wife.  It was just not something that our family did.  Now you see them everywhere but, again, there's this lack of certainty about the tone that should be adopted.  There are, of course, the outright religious ones but also you have a fair smattering of cute animals (bunnies, chicks, ducks etc.)  What we don't appear to have, as yet, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time, is the humorous or downright obscene Easter Card.  You may, of course, know differently and I'm sure you'll tell me.

The timing of Easter always used to irritate me as a child.  It just didn't fit in with my strong sense of what should be a proper narrative flow.  You've got your Nativity story in the Advent period, and that's fine.  Then three months or so later, we've got a fully grown man who is heading towards Jersualem and certain death.  It's like Lewis solving the murder just after the first commercial break.

I think we need to do something about Easter, but I'm not quite sure what?

A version of this appears in 'A Kick at the Pantry Door'


easter passes me by, but then again so does christmas and most other days. Rejoice!


I know how you feel :-) Thanks for the comment.

I did a piece 3 years ago about why does easter move about, entitled 'Did Jesus die in March or April?' and there was some discussion there too.

At Christmas and Easter there are those who want to celebrate and remind of the coming of offered salvation, but there is also the desire to lighten winter with festivity, and enjoy the coming of spring – oh, and the desire to push greed and spending and self-centredness to extremes.


Nice poem, Rhiannon. I think there's a good case for moving it to October to fit my narrative thread better ;-)

'There is a green hill far away. Without a city wall'  When I was young I felt sorry for the hill not having a wall. Then I learned that 'without' meant situated outside.

Religious Holy Days are often a mixture of traditions rooted in spiritual faith, commercialism and hocus pocus the pantomime diplodocus that will not lay down and die. I'm a Jew. The 'Seder', the Passover meal that occurs at around the same time as Easter has its quirky moments too. When I was a teenager I struggled to keep a straight face each time Egypt was referred to as 'the house of bondage.'

That hymn used to perplex me too! And I'll never think of Egypt in the same way again. Thanks for the comment, Elsie.

'Happy Easter Christ is Dead, Come and eat your Easter Egg.'

And for more contemporary hymns on a secular theme....

No offence intended, simply being silly here. Wishing you all a good Easter smiley


As a potential topic for a hymn, it's probably as relevant as most!  The point of my piece was not to offend (although that is almost inevitable with some sections of opinion) but rather to highlight the ambiguity that surrounds the festival.  We think we know where we are with Christmas but I doubt we're quite as sure about Easter (and don't get me started on Pentecost).