Good Friday – cultural observations

by Anna Blanch on March 22, 2008

I thought after 8 months of living in America I had just about worked my way through the contradictions of the American pscyhe, or was at least prepared for them – I didn’t say that i had begun to understand them, mind you. This week i was thrown for a loop. For a country that is far more culturally religious than Australia, I was suprised to discover that Easter, and especially Good Friday is almost completely ignored.

Americans go to work as normal on Good Friday – it doesn’t even rate a public holiday – and even Christians who celebrate Easter have to sway to masses in the ways in which they can celebrate. For example, because of everyone going to work, most church services are held at 6pm, rather than 3pm (which was always the way it was growing up for me) – which coincides with the time it is recorded that Jesus died on the cross. Even Baylor only recently began observing a day off on friday and monday (though this may have more to do with Baptist church history than American Secularism); though the Baylor Women’s softball team “is playing Friday and Saturday in deference to Easter Sunday” – note the lack of reference to Friday as Good Friday, or Easter Friday.

Indeed the only way you would know it was easter is by observing the ever present holiday supplies in the supermarket which change steadily from Valentines Day, to Easter, with some St Patricks Day shamrocks thrown in for good measure. Indeed, you can set your calendar by these changes in “”holiday” supplies. That is what makes the minimisation of Easter so strange – Americans love holidays – but Easter is observed even less than what i saw for Valentines Day. Many Parents give their children Easter baskets which comprise gifts not necessarily related to Easter – like tshirts, or knick-knacks (a toy animal). I wonder what happened to the mini-egg hunt in the backyard when your mum hid easter eggs in the trees and by the pot plants?
On a different note – I attended a seder last night.

A Seder is a ceremony performed by the Jewish people since the time of Moses to commemorate God saving them from slavery in Egypt, devlivering them through the red sea and protecting and guiding them through the desert. We didn’t observe a Jewish ceremony though – that is it wasn’t kosher or anything like that – the idea was to understand the relationship between the old testamant stories of God’s redemption of his people and the lamb of god, the messiah who completed the sacrifice required by God- Jesus Christ. Therefore, there is no need to sacrifice a lamb as the passover traditionally required, becase the lamb of god has already been sacrificed. After that, we had an incredible meal which included some great lamb (and mint jelly of course)!

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  • Darnesha

    You’re a real deep thinker. Thanks for sharing.

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