Saturday, April 14, 2007
The Blue Rose Girls all came for Easter – Linda arrived with a basket of eggs and a grey egg carton filled with pansies and ribbons and pastel candies. I wish I had taken a picture of her smiling and holding them out to us -- the basket was draped with cloth napkinds just the right colors and there were 24 beautiful eggs. I know because we hunted for them later.
Luckily, I am pretty sure Alvina captured everything, including husbands and boyfriends and our friend Amiko and Grace’s yellow-topped carrot (for Easter) cupcakes and the apartment Alvina herself helped clean and set up for the party … everything except maybe how hard we all laughed at some of the stories because she was laughing too hard herself to take pictures. It seemed in the spirit of Easter to me for Robert to tell us about someone who had invited him up for a study date - when he arrived, she was draped on the couch in red silk lingerie. This was maybe what prompted the discussion on RISD and social skills -- and I know it was what made Anna say,
"Never mind dating or conversation -- she just put on her underwear and waited to see what would happen."
All over Mystic, there are trees with Easter eggs – real Easter eggs, eggs people have colored themselves – hanging from them on long strings. One lady blows eggs all year so she will have enough at Easter to give a big party. All the neighborhood kids come and paint eggs – and then their parents hang them in their own yards.
I’ve never lived in a place where people celebrate so much: we have six parades a year – I’m especially looking forward to Hallowe’en, when all the children march in their costumes. And thinking about holidays, and reading Grace’s wonderful new novel The Year of the Rat (with its Moon Festival and other rituals), made me think how good it is to celebrate holidays together – holidays for the changing seasons (like eggs for spring and fertility and new beginnings and possibilities and breaking out of your shell and just the plain beauty of bright yellow and white – you could go on and on!) and the occasions that are common to everyone in a culture like the 4th of July.
As a single person living in a city (and perhaps with some vestiges of adolescent notions of coolness) I rarely celebrated holidays. Some holidays I already always spend with the same people. But now I want to celebrate MORE --maybe spending Easter together each year could become a BRG tradition, with our own (and, when people have them, our children's) made-up rituals as well as classics like eggs. That is one of the fun things about celebrations -- merging what is common to a culture with your own made-up rituals, in a celebration both of the occasion and the people with whom you celebrate it.
That is the REAL end of the post, but I can’t resist adding that in England in the Middle Ages the church was very clever about incorporating pagan celebrations into religious occasions – not just fertility & Easter and the solstice & Christmas; but weird holidays and saints days like: baking pancakes on Shrove Tuesday and having may poles and queens of the May on May 1 and boys cutting switches and then running around chasing the girls– I forget what that was for, Saint Swithin’s Day? But the point is that they had these OFTEN: by one calculation, there was a Saints Day every week – and no one was allowed to work on the day of the holiday or the half day before it. Once a week would be too much – but a few times a year (or at least for Easter): let’s all celebrate together!