Easter is not just about red eggs
Myths and beliefs are the axis culture is based on. We think and define ourselves and the world around us through stories. It is an essential and evolutionary proven mechanism because it spares us the time needed to learn something new. When you ask someone how was their day you don’t expect to hear the number of breaths they took and how many steps they made but you expect to hear something unusual, something interesting, something you can learn. In my opinion, tales have two main functions: socializing (spreading information about members of the group -some may call this gossip) and learning (sharing knowledge-that may be the case why we are attracted by the sensational, we desire to enlarge our sphere of expertise).
Joseph Campbell in his thesis claimed there is one fundamental story that humans tell, regardless of time and space boundaries. It may take many forms but the message is the same: in order for man to become complete, he must become an adult (putting the long-term vision and the group above individual interest). There are a series of motifs and scenes that are common across legends but I won’t go into details now.
The Christian narrative
For Christianity, Jesus is the archetype of the perfect human. There are many variants of the story of Genesis and one of my favourites is that man and woman became into being when God devised the androgyne. Having this in mind, you can say Christ was the first men. Anyway, he is the model, the higher ideal of becoming for every Christian. He reflects all the virtues one must have in order to transcend his or her mundane state into a higher one.
I don’t celebrate Easter, but my family does and I do enjoy it because I love cake and for me is like a food festival. I was born Christian but as I grown up I became agnostic (it is not that I don’t believe in the divine, because that is ridiculous, but I think it is beyond human’s limited understanding, we may perceive God throughout his creation but we will never grasp his true essence). As far as I am concerned, this religious celebration is of crucial importance for believers and it is painful, for me, that it lost its true meaning. Unfortunately, now it is all about painting eggs, eating, sacrificing lambs, etc. People complete rituals without knowing their significance and therefore their power is lost.
As far as I am concerned, the narrative of the crucifixion is one of the most archetypal ever. It is a story where the hero sacrifices for the community and higher values. It is about the essence of life, which is suffering, and it is about the solution to this pain, making it meaningful by assuming a burden you can carry (the cross which can be also seen as the centre of the universe). It is about the journey everyone makes into the underworld at a certain point in their life (and I don’t necessarily mean death by that), and about its true signification which is transformation. It is about the gift the protagonist brings when he returns (the resurrection) which is the forgiveness of the primordial sin and thus granting the privilege to walk again with God in the Garden of Eden (which is not eternal life but rather a forgiveness of humanity’s flawed nature).
When you go to church and light the candle you bring in your house it is a symbolic ritual, it is about being enlightened, about remembering this story and its message. Fire is both knowledge and purification.