A holiday, regardless

This weekend marked the first time I wasn’t home for a major holiday. And as much as holidays with my family often involve a hearty helping of chaos and stress, it made me really sad to be absent from Easter. Growing up, Easter was always one of my favorite holidays – usually beaten only by Christmas. I loved the hidden chocolate, the bunny bringing me gifts (never really thought through how that one worked …), the dying of hard-boiled eggs and the family dinner. Like most holidays, Easter involves more than a day’s celebration, and the rituals and traditions sometimes surpassed the religious importance in my mind. However, there was also always a trip to church, with the sanctuary filled with lilies, and then a big family dinner, with my grandma’s always-wonderful cooking.

One year, my younger sister and I took an egg decorating class and learned how to clear the yolk and white out of an egg shell (keeping the shell intact) and then paint it. We latched onto this craft, buying an egg tree and spending many a Saturday afternoon painting eggs. Now we have quite a considerable collection, thanks to the eventual contributions of both our brothers, and I hope to continue this tradition once I have my own home and family. I’m sure my family got out the egg tree this year, but I wasn’t there to see it.

Going to school seven hours away makes it hard to go home for a weekend. Combine that with a Saturday full of reporting and choir, as well as a residence hall that needs staff, and I found myself in Columbia on a ghost-town weekend. At first, I was saddest about missing the good food and egg-dying. Unfortunately, I ate Honey Nut Cheerios for Easter dinner. Once I started thinking about the egg tree, I realized how many other customs and traditions I’d be missing out on. This started me on a minor self-pity trip, especially when I realized I hadn’t gotten anything in the mail from family.

However, the day was soon looking up. Saturday my mailbox gifted me with a package of chocolates and a movie, and I found a couple friends who were also stuck in our college town over the holiday. As we watched movies Saturday night and then went to church and lunch Sunday, I started realizing how enjoyable my weekend had become. I wasn’t at home, I hadn’t dyed hard-boiled eggs and I didn’t get any sweet potatoes. But sitting in church I thought about the importance of this day and its meaning for my faith, regardless of where I was or who I was with. It became clear that I could celebrate and enjoy this holiday no matter what. Sure, I missed my family, but I had still enjoyed this special day with great friends.

As I got back to my room Sunday afternoon, preparing to settle down and write two papers, I counted myself lucky for the wonderful people in my life. Although terrorism in Mumbai and journalism during the Depression aren’t the best topics on Easter, it was still a peaceful, enjoyable day. I called my family and heard about their rushed dinner and egg hunt as they tried to work around 11 different schedules, and, despite the craziness, missed being there. But it’s okay, my grandma and aunt are planning an Easter repeat dinner when I get home. =)

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