SO HOW do you spend this celebration of eggs, chocolate and a long weekend? Pondering the resurrection of Jesus Christ? Ending Lent with an almighty feast? Rolling eggs with faces down hills?
Nope, me neither. Like millions of others, I am a non-believer who, in my own peculiar way, believes in Easter.
That is to say, I believe in: eggs, chocolate, chocolate eggs, good telly, spring, Sunday roasts and any excuse to be kind to oneself and others.
My Easter goes a little something like this. First of all, I have to figure out when it is. This ritual of forgetting and remembering usually takes a fortnight. Easter is tricky to pin down, and therefore all the more rewarding when it finally shows up.
The day itself begins in suitably spartan fashion: two slices of toast and a medium size egg for breakfast, boiled for 4.5 minutes. The yolk must be runny, the white firm. This is not as easy as it sounds but when achieved, and on Easter Sunday to boot, is a thing of pure, quasi-religious joy. Like the rattle of mini eggs in one’s hand. Oh, and for some reason – OK, they were on offer – this year’s Easter’s eggs are blue. A lovely pale 1950s-inspired duck egg blue, in fact, though this duck was, of course, a hen. I don’t know how hens make blue eggs by the way but I have some concern they come from the same shadowy place as square tomatoes. But just like I don’t want to lift the cistern lid to see how a toilet flushes, I have no intention of looking into it. Some things are better left unknown. Religion could be said to function along similar principles.
The dog, meanwhile, gets a two-minute boiled egg. C insists Daphne should have her Easter egg as God intended it – ie raw – being the rippling little body-building Staffie that she is. I, however, like my dogs anthropomorphised, which is why I warm milk for her on a cold night and look deeply into her eyes and tell her I love her ten times a day.
Anyway, move over Daphne. This is Easter, not an excerpt from Delia Smith’s lesser-known classic How To Boil An Egg for a Dog. In the afternoon we settle on the sofa to watch Easter Parade, the 1948 Irving Berlin classic starring Judy Garland and Fred Astaire in the only film they ever did together. It is, in 1940s parlance, a real doozy. Great songs, great dancing, great lines, and – sorry, I can’t help it – great dogs. Easter ends with a roast chicken – it’s not a great holiday for birds in my home – and whatever period drama happens to be on the box.
It’s an awkward thing celebrating festivals in a secular society. They can become infantile, meaningless or, worse still, an excuse for rampant consumerism. Worship at the altar of Cadbury’s instead of Christ and all that. But there is a third way. Happily, you don’t have to spend, pray or go on a mini-break, unless of course you want to. All you need to do is come up with three things you love to do, arrange them in an order that tickles your fancy, and repeat annually unto death. Egg. Easter Parade. Roast. Done. Happy Easter.