When I was older the holiday lost its importance to me, except for the chocolate peanut butter eggs that always came out at that time of the year. In no way is this meant to disrespect those people that look at this holiday as the day Christ rose from the dead, but please understand not all of us hold the same beliefs.
Moving to Europe to be with my wife, the importance of Easter became much more prevalent in my life. Although some of my wife’s family is Catholic (aka Poland), the importance Easter plays in my life is different on two different levels.
For German people, the holiday plays an important religious role and working adults have two days off, while children get two and a half weeks free from school. Not only that, but the small and large cities prepare for an Easter Fire two weeks before the holiday. In the small village I live in of about five hundred homes, the people at this time of year trim all of their trees and bushes before the holiday. Besides playing an important role in keeping the small village looking clean, it always is the fuel used in the massive bonfire that the village does for Easter along with a little festival. I’m including a video from the group Wolfsheim. In the song Blind there are a few of these strange small festivals with tractors and fireworks in a small village. I ran across it on my trek to learn to speak German. Listening to music and watching movies is a good way to speed up your language comprehension skills. When I saw the music video it always made me wonder if Germans actually do strange little festivals like that. The answer I found out is that they do. The bonfire that is prepared for the holiday is currently thirty yards in diameter and about twenty-five feet high in the middle and there is still one more week for the people in my small village to pull more wood to the massive bonfire. Interesting enough, it’s the one time of year Germans are allowed to have a bonfire.
In Poland the villages don’t follow suit with what the Germans do. While for many Polish people it is an extremely important religious day, for my wife’s family it is more about traditional food and family time. Polish people do get as many holidays as the wealthier countries do like France and Germany, but they do get that Monday free from work. It reminds me in many ways of the American Thanksgiving Day. One year I did a traditional Thanksgiving Day Turkey for the holiday. The twenty-one pound bird barely fit in their apartment’s small oven. It was quite the hit and my wife’s sister usually does a Turkey every Easter following my recipe.
I would kind of like to add something like this into my book series, since religion plays such an important role for many of the societies I’ve created on Irlendria. It could be neat adding in my own twist by “borrowing” ideas from my time in Europe to enhance the story. I’ll just have to see if I can make some great battle fall on a major Minotaur holiday. When I made my Minotaur culture, I had to form their whole society in my mind before writing about them. Although I based them on Romans, they are a different species and from another world, so some of their culture needs to reflect that difference. In my world Minotaurs’ are mostly a rural farming people. They do have large cities, but still culturally they are setup in Clan farming communities. Their God is Akras, based off the Finish God Akhras. They refer to Akras as the “White Goddess” and she is a female. The symbol for Akras is a hand sickle used in their farming, they use the human “peace sign” as a sign for their horned goddess. An idea I had from the numerous rock videos. I’ll probably get zinged again in reviews for using this “horned” symbolism, but whatever. Some people will find insult in anything you do.