For as long as I can remember, Easter has always been the most significant Christian celebration of the year for my family. Although different denominations celebrate this holy day with slight variations, the meaning remains the same. God’s son died on Good Friday and rose again on Easter Sunday in order to save all of humanity. It’s the only death that brings joy instead of sadness to me and my fellow churchgoers.
The time between Good Friday and Easter Monday, a public holiday in South Africa, brings back memories of people flocking to church. Easter meant that my family would get ready in their Sunday best — formal spring dresses or a suit — on Good Friday, and then celebrate with thousands of others through song and ministry. Everyone in attendance feels like family — not biologically — but our collective celebration binds us together.
Some people rely on the constant of a church service. Others find joy in the annual Easter egg hunt. For my young mind, Easter came in these two baskets (no pun intended) — religious and secular. One basket had me wearing my dress shoes to church. As a churchgoer, I know that no other time of the year warrants thousands flocking to church for three straight days.
My other basket had me hiding extra chocolate eggs away from my mom’s watchful eye in my little fluffy handbag. My African mom never let me believe in tooth fairies, Santa Klaus or the Easter Bunny. As a fan of Easter eggs, I know that Cadbury doesn’t sell their chocolate eggs filled with soft vanilla creme any other time. However, there was no way to escape the oversized pink bunny that hopped around restaurants and hotels, handing out Easter eggs to eager, smiling children.
What lies at the heart of any Easter celebration is unity and joy. As he does at the end of every church service, my bishop makes it a point to express gratitude to God for the miracle of Easter and our ability to gather together. The collective celebration is something I deeply missed during the pandemic and something that I’ll miss out on while being away from home.
No matter how you choose to celebrate Easter weekend — attending church, nostalgically hunting for Easter eggs, waiting for the chocolate eggs to go on sale or all of the above — I hope it’s a good one. Unlike the other years I’ve celebrated with my family, there won’t be any dressing up or hearty meals cooked by my mom, but I’ll be livestreaming the church services I hold so dear.
Contact Mika Chipana at [email protected]