April 12, 2006

Easter Thursday

Back in California, I barely noticed Easter. Not being religious, of course, I didn't pay much personal attention to it. I remember my (very Catholic) grandmother asking me what I was going to do for Easter one year and I hadn't had a clue that Easter was coming up or why I should care about it. People in California were so heterogenous that it sometimes seemed difficult to find people who cared much about Easter -- and even then, the ones who did went to church on Easter Sunday and had a nice meal with their families that evening. The people with little kids did the Easter egg hunt, because nothing celebrates the resurrection of God's only son from the dead like telling your children outrageous and bizarre lies to the effect that a rabbit breaks into your house in the middle of the night and hides multi-colored hard-boiled eggs everywhere.

Last year, when I worked at the Law Office Of The Great Man, I was quite taken aback to find that Easter Monday was a day off work. I didn't complain; Easter takes place in springtime, and the weather turns very nice here. (Even as I type, I am sitting outside on the screened porch, wearing shorts and a T-shirt, enjoying the view of the newly-green trees on Black Oak Ridge.) An unexpected day off work was pleasant, although I thought it was really silly since Easter is a) a religious holiday, not a civic one, and b) it happens on a Sunday, not a Monday. All the more unbelievable, the Great Man was displeased with me for giving the staff Veteran's Day off work -- that's a legitimate, Federal holiday, when the courts would be closed and created by an Act of Congress. But Easter Monday, sure, take that off, even if you're not Christian!

But just as I observed last year, people go a little bit nuts at Easter here in Knoxville. Everything and everybody gets a day off for Easter. I found out today that my paralegal class for tomorrow is being postponed by a week. There are no Muslim, Shinto, Buddhist, Hindu, Taoist, neo-pagan, Wiccan, or civic holidays occurring on Thursday. And when I asked my students about it last week, they hadn't a clue that Thursday is Passover; the idea of going to a Seder seemed entirely alien to them and I doubt any of my students could pick a gefilte fish out of a lineup. So apparently, my class schedule is delayed to celebrate Easter Thursday, which is a new holiday to me. But a few students seemed a little bit upset at the idea that I would want them to show up to class three days before a religious holiday.

Just another blurring of the line between the secular and the sectarian that happens here in the land where the Bible Belt is buckled, I suppose. And for the most part, I'm pretty much out on my own in being bemused by that fact -- everyone else here seems to take treating Easter as a civic holiday as a presumption, because of course it hasn't ever occurred to them that some people don't celebrate Easter.

Maybe tomorrow to commemorate Easter Thursday, I will buy some horseshoes. We have a horseshoe pit in the back yard here at La Casita Knoxvilla, and haven't had any opportunity to use them. Horseshoes is the sort of game that you see being played every once in a while and you wonder how people ever get good at it because let's face it, most people don't exactly use a lot of horseshoes in daily life anymore. And horseshoes have as much relevance to Easter in my world view as does having to give my students Thursday off class.


Anonymous said...

Easter and Christmas, let's all go to church. Silly.

Salsola said...

Two people at my office are celebrating Passover. We just had a fun discussion over dinner before mediating at a the local Zendo about the establishment clause and the local city's failure to respect it. Check out Sunday’s paper. We all got kinda worked up about it, but, maybe we don't know how good we got it.

Anonymous said...

It's actually Holy Thursday. I attended a great seder last night that combined a ton of yummy food (and wine, and wine, and wine, and wine) with the chaos of four kids under the age of five, who had little to no interest in the formal aspects of the evening, not even Uncle Eli's Haggadah. Oh well.

Burt Likko said...

Holy Thursday, Batman! I'm not in touch with Catholicism these days, am I?

None said...

Great post. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I'm a transplant to the South as well, and it's funny when people assume you know when Easter is. I'm on the board of my HOA, and one of the other members said to me about a month ago, "Let's wait until after Easter to do such-and-such". She was taken aback when I asked when that was; for all I knew it was the very next weekend.

By the way, although I'm not Catholic and don't know when Easter is, I am a Pagan, and Thursday was signifcant to me because there was a Full Moon. lol :-)