I had a quite lovely and troubling Easter yesterday.
Easter is one of my favorite days of the year, because I get to spend some quality time with my family of 26 years, as well as for the personal, spiritual significance of the day itself. However, in addition to the traditional pleasantries like Easter baskets and ham-feasts, I also experienced a pleasant amount of awkwardness and alienation, as I am wont to do.
My family is Catholic, and we went to the Easter vigil service, which some of you might know if the biggest hootenanny of the Catholic liturgical calendar. Traditionally, the service is 11 hours long, and marked by prayers in latin, a darkened church until midnight, and incense billowing like a fricking rubber fire. The modern church has whittled it down to 2-3 hours, filled with lots of unique music, along with adult baptisms, confirmations, communion, and lots of standing, sitting, kneeling, and squatting. Somebody apparently thought it would be a novel idea to have a woman do an interpretive dance while scripture was being read. This literally went on for over 15 minutes – a passage from the Bible, and this woman wearing more scarves than Stevie Nicks would spin, hop, and flop all over the place. This was all accompanied by the punishing sound of awkward silence. Occasionally, somebody might cough, or a child would begin softly crying from watching this unsettling spectacle, but for the most part, the entire congregation merely averted their eyes and stared at their programs hoping for it to all be over soon. I, of course, while also feeling distinctly uncomfortable, was softly laughing to myself (my dad saw me and also began laughing). I have never seen anything so unbelievably pointless and embarassing to all involved. It was literally worse than the Rodney King riots.
This experience, coupled with the fun of coloring Easter eggs with my siblings (decorating eggs with such messages as, “Happy Easter/NCAA Tournament!”, and “Don’t Drink and Drive”), made for a wonderful holiday weekend. By the time we had finished feasting on swine-flesh, the whole family was feeling plump and pleasant. We spent the rest of day resting, relaxing, and watching holiday television programming reminding us of the reason for the season (most notably a Passion of the Christ-like scene where the Easter bunny was flogged for 27 minutes).