Easter in Europe is crack-a-lackin’! While there is no denying that Easter is definitely a big deal in America, with countless people making their biannual church appearance, or that it’s hard to compete with America’s tendency to be completely over-the-top when it comes to a holiday or event, I think Europe may have us beat on this one.
There isn’t a lot of focus on the religious aspect of the holiday in “Christian” Europe. No one wants to think about the “thornier” issues related to the holiday, you know, the whole crown of thorns and the nails in the hands and feet and all, instead choosing to hop around eating eggs and chocolate bunnies.
They are, however, religious about not working during the holidays. That’s holidays, as in more than one. As in several, including Good Friday, Easter and Easter Monday. I’m a preacher’s kid who’s attended church my entire life, but knew nothing of this Easter Monday before moving to Europe. In fact, I still know very little. What, did Jesus gather his posse to find out what happened while he was away? Oh wait, I know. Easter Monday is the day Jesus passed on that little tidbit about going toward the light. He’d been there, so he knew the drill, right?
What I do know is that I need to be on the ball and make plans early for this four-day weekend if my family and I plan on traveling, which, by the way, we didn’t this year.
But please, don’t cry for me Argentina (or anyone else for that matter). We still have a chance to go away for the Easter holiday, because Easter Monday, or 2e Paasdag (2nd Easter Day) as it’s known in Holland, isn’t the only Easter bonus day on the calendar. Six weeks after Easter is Ascension Day. You’re probably wondering “what is Ascension Day?” because again, even as a grew-up-in-the-preacher’s-house person that I am, I was like, “Huh?!”
Ascension, as I’m sure you know, means to ascend or to go up. Thus, Ascension Day is the celebration of Jesus ascending to heaven after hanging out with the disciples for a little while after the resurrection. I wonder how many people stop to ponder that Jesus, having ascended, is now looking down on the earth, or if they’re too busy pondering their own “ascension”, if you catch my drift.
I don ‘t want you to think that Easter is nothing more than a big ole’ 6-week party in Europe, because that’s just not true. The party actually lasts much longer than that, at least it does in Holland. In November a prince is chosen, for carnival, which starts in February. So in essence, the Easter party lasts from November until April or May. And just when you think it’s over, after you’ve gotten your party on for a prince, then for a King (that would be Jesus), we get yet another holiday and party. This time for a
Gotta love the Netherlands.
Enjoy your Easter Monday.