There isn’t much to not like about Easter – almost everyone has something in mind that makes them feel all warm and fuzzy inside when the subject’s brought up. To celebrate that holiday spirit, we decided to ask those we contacted – What does Easter mean to you? Here are their responses!
28, Bakersfield, California
“Every Easter was a lot of fun at my house. We’d paint eggs the day before and leave them out to dry so we could have some festive ornamentation for Easter Monday. Come Easter morning, me and my brother and sisters would all wake up bright and early and eat pancakes and Easter bread for breakfast. We’d usually watch a movie together during the afternoon, and then have a nice turkey dinner. Of course, there were plenty of chocolates to go around too! Overall, Easter means all that fun stuff to me!”
52, Victoria, British Columbia
“Growing up my family was real poor, so we couldn’t really afford too many gifts or chocolates or anything like that on Easter. We were pretty religious too, so the festivities were more traditional than most associate with Easter. I think my dad felt a little bad for us though, because even though we couldn’t afford to buy any chocolate Easter eggs, every night before Easter Monday he’d lay some eggs himself around the house so we could go on an egg hunt in the morning. Me and my brothers always knew where they all were because we could hear our dad screaming in agony as he was laying the eggs. It’d usually keep us up all night. Plus there was always a little blood near where he hid them for obvious reasons. But that didn’t matter, because we knew he went through so much just to keep us happy, so we’d feign ignorance of where the eggs were. That’s what Easter means to me.”
73, Yuwan, Hadhramaut Governorate, Yemen
“We don’t really celebrate Easter, but I imagine it’s a lovely holiday. Sorry!”
61, Oracle Junction, Arizona
“I’d say it means sacrifice. See, when I was just a little boy, on Easter Monday of 1970 my pa woke me up early in the morning, probably around 5 or 6. He told me I need to be real quiet, so as not to wake everyone else in the house. I got outside with him before I could even brush my teeth or eat any breakfast, and my granddad was waiting in his pickup truck. We hopped in and drove off into the wilderness. I asked where we were going, but none of them would answer.
After a while my granddad parked at the top of this valley and we got out of the truck to continue on foot. We must’ve driven quite a ways, cause I’m pretty sure we were right next to the San Pedro river. Either way, we walked about an hour or two southwards, and by now it was pretty damn hot out. If all that weren’t weird enough, what was really getting to me was that nobody was saying a word, despite the strange circumstances and all. We turned at this creek and followed it to the mouth of a cave.
By now my dad and granddad broke the silence and they both put their hands on my shoulders, telling me this was a big day for me. They handed me a flashlight and we all headed inside the cave. It was pretty spacious, the stream running off to the right and a tunnel to the left. We went through the tunnel and switched on our flashlights, sticking right up against the wall cause there was a nasty drop on the side opposite of us. Eventually the tunnel started narrowing, and there were these weird drawings on the wall – you know, like cave paintings or something, but I couldn’t figure out what they were or what they meant, on account of it being too dark and us moving and all.
I asked my dad what we were doing here, and he told me ‘We’re here to meet God.’ and I thought, well what the hell is that supposed to mean? I was a kid, but I wasn’t young enough for that kind of stuff to really convince me anymore – it’s not that I was an atheist or something, but I never heard of God living in a cave, or anywhere on the Earth for that matter. So I said to him, ‘What do you mean meet God?’ and he just told me I’ll see right up ahead. So they led me about a minute’s walk up to this big old chamber where you could hardly see two steps in front of you.
Let me tell you, it reeked in there – I’d never smelt a corpse before, and luckily I still haven’t, but I can only imagine it’d smell something like this room, and maybe throw an outhouse in for good measure. And it was a big room – it must’ve been as big as a theatre in there, and all I could hear was this kind of wheezing noise. My dad rang this little bell on the ground, and wouldn’t you know it the room just lit up, although I have no idea where from. In the centre there was this big, weird looking critter – it was probably about three times the size of a grizzly, but kind of had the body of an elk. Here’s the thing, though – it had the face of an old man, and it was definitely not right, considering it had these faces all over its body, an arm or a leg jutting out here and there, even a couple of mouths where they shouldn’t be.
The thing “woke up” I guess, cause it tried standing up real feebly, although its hind legs looked like they were paralyzed, and it opened up its eyes – which were hollow, by the way – and just kinda smiled at us real gently. I looked at it a minute, and then I asked my dad “This thing here’s God?” and he nodded and patted me on the back. The deer thing turned to me and all its mouths started talking in this raspy, sing-songy kinda voice. It told me it’d always been there, that some Hohokam fellas found it a couple thousand years ago, and one of their descendants married into an Apache family, and they married into a Spanish family, and that family into mine, and every generation of them’s been “tending” to it.
So now, I mean that’s really something and all, but I just didn’t see what’s so godlike about it, so I said to it if you’re really God, why don’t you make Elvis appear right here in front of us. Sure enough, one of its mouths opened wide and puked out this nasty placenta looking thing, and wouldn’t you know it this nude Elvis comes crawling out with the hair and the voice and everything. So I said alright, fair enough, and that Elvis just burst into flames and dropped dead after the point was proven. Then it told me in return for ‘providing for us’, it wanted the knowledge of the eldest child, and I thought well shoot, that’s me here ain’t it?
My grandpappy stepped forward and told me it was talking about him, considering he was the eldest child of his family, which I figure makes sense, considering I’m just a 12 year old at the time and all – if it wanted knowledge, it ain’t gonna find any in me. So anyhow, that’s when my grandad said to me that I’m a man now, and this’ll be my duty one day. Then ‘God’ I guess started humming and by golly my grandpappy’s nose just starts gushing blood and he dropped dead right there. That deer fella lowered its head and unhinged its toothless jaw, and just swallowed his body whole, and the darnedest thing is once it was done, didn’t its face turn into my grandpappy’s right before my eyes. It bid us farewell and my dad took me by the hand and led me out. Once we were back in the tunnel I went to look back but go figure the chamber just up and vanished, and there was just a solid rock wall behind us.
Lemme tell you I was pretty down in the dumps that my granddad just died in front of me and got swallowed up by a deer god but you know, he was 90 something at the time, and my daddy told me he wasn’t much longer for this world – that’s why they decided then was the time. It wasn’t all bad though, considering we did go out for ice cream once we got back to the truck. That’s why Easter means sacrifice to me, and you know, I reckon some time soon that’ll be me headed back to that cave with my son and grandson.”
BOB HESH (LEFT) AND PHILLIP CASTELLAN (RIGHT)
24 and 33, Miami, Florida
“Easter to me means wonder – not only when I was a kid, with all the wonder around those beautifully painted Easter eggs, and the joy of the egg hunt and whatnot, but also as an adult – wonder at this kind gentleman’s showing me a genuine sapphire mined from India in the 16th century – in a public bathroom stall, no less. Talk about luck!”