Little Luca Lucas came to Nonna’s house for his first Easter hunt of naturally colored-eggs from my “girls,” plastic eggs bestowed with foiled chocolates, pecans and kumquats and a red collection basket. It took a bit for him to get the gist and then…surprise, joy, challenge, satisfaction. Brunch followed: buckwheat waffles a la Kelly, sausagees (vegan sausages) a la Nonna, stewed fruit. To the park for slack line jollity and playground. A lovely personal time.
At the park, a church was setting up for a large hunt by helter-skeltering 8000!! plastic eggs over the ground. Apparently the idea is to greedily grab as many as possible. No hiding, no challenge, no merriment. Lucas and I walked through this mine-field for the visual but I believe that even this almost two-year-old could feel the lack of inspiration that he’d just experienced. Contrary to U.S. belief, children don’t like ‘easy.’ They LOVE an authentic challenge. They LIKE to surmise; they’re into meaningfulness (not mindless “entertainment”) until they’re trained not to be.
Almost every popular holiday has been defaced and decayed by marketers, stores, bakeries, restaurants and/or anyone who believes that money is the true—maybe only—motivator of humans. The truer reason money has been a mover is to acquire what we need: housing, food, etc. and what we fancy: everything else that we believe will make us “happy” or fulfill us in some way. In other words, what gives meaning. Twisting meaning into insincere sentimentality or materialism is just wrong.
I recoiled from holidays starting around the age of 10, growing exponentially each year as I felt pressured and obligated—not by my family—but by the culture to be “happy,” to believe in something I didn’t, from: St. Patty’s Day (drinking and wearing green), New Year’s (drinking), Thanksgiving (indulgence and football with little sustainable thanks), 4th of July (beer, let’s blow shit up & pollute the air), Labor Day (almost no connection left to it’s inception), Easter & X-mas (stolen from Pagan holidays), Valentine’s Day (see: love, sad, love, sad, love, sad, sad love), Halloween (Persona day! Yes! Boo—now it’s usurped by adults, it’s competitive, and female “sexy” rules), Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Flag day, ad nauseum.
Not to mention: International Panic Day (18 June), Rubber Eraser Day (15 April) or National Punch Day (20 September). Maybe the latter is to celebrate the punching of people who create hollow holidays.
I have two children, I taught writing in schools and now I have a grandson so I’m not a complete curmudgeon. I participated! Ask them. But I aspired to create inspiration not stimulation in whichever we engaged in. Valentines were homespun, Solstice replaced X-mas with our distinctive ritual (see: the reason for the season is jesus and other lies), handmade cards, honeyed orange peels, champagne, minimal gifts.
Today is the only familiar holiday that hasn’t been assassinated and still has fun attached. As long as you don’t do unkind practical jokes, become a wholehearted trickster. Especially with little ones who love to be good-naturedly hoodwinked but never deceived. Just like us adults.