Kent Bush: Easter is about Jesus

Kent Bush

Easter is a strange holiday.

There are so many different types of celebrations and observances. From Lent and Good Friday to Easter Bunnies and Cadbury Eggs, Easter is celebrated very differently.

As we started planning to take the boys to the annual Easter egg hunt, my wife and I talked about how different this year will be for our 4-year-old who we adopted from Ethiopia nine months ago.

He may or may not have ever celebrated Easter according to the practices of the Orthodox Church of Ethiopia. He was named for King David in the Bible, but his birth mother may not have practiced in this tradition.

At the orphan care center his last year, they celebrated, but it is hard to observe the holiday like a private citizen in Ethiopia would.

Easter is typically on a different day in Ethiopia than America.

They have 13 months on their calendar. It is only 2005 there. And they use a different method to calculate the holiday than we do.

And they observe Lent. But they don’t give up chocolate, gummy bears or Facebook for 40 days like some in America do.

They observe lent for eight weeks. This observance requires a true fast from all animal products – no meat, milk, butter or cheese. A good deal of an Ethiopian’s protein comes from the teff grain used to make injera – best described as a sour dough pancake - that is consumed with most meals. So becoming a vegan for two months isn’t an unhealthy option in any way.

Ethiopians truly sacrifice for the Lenton season.

At dawn on Good Friday, celebrants attend church. This begins a period of preparing to break their fast. At midnight on Saturday, the Paschal Vigil begins. A somber period of dance and music lasts for a few hours until everyone heads home at about 3 a.m. to break the Lenton fast – usually with doro wat, a thick and spicy chicken stew.

Because of the hour, everyone rests after that meal only to rise Sunday morning and prepare for the Easter Feast – usually consisting of a freshly butchered sheep - to celebrate the resurrection of Christ.

This year, Dawit will hunt Easter eggs filled with candy in a park, go to church on Sunday and celebrate with Easter lunch at a restaurant.

The last nine months have led to so many huge changes in his life and how his new culture celebrates Easter is one of those.

I was worried about what he had to think about this upcoming holiday so I asked him in his own terms what he thought Easter was about.

“Jesus,” was his answer.

You know, he’s right.

Beyond the pageants and pretty dresses; the sacrifices and celebrations; the fasts and feasts; and the decorated eggs and decadent chocolate, Easter is about Jesus.

Christmas is great. Without Christmas, there would be no Easter. But without Easter Sunday, Christmas day is just another Jewish kid’s birthday.

Easter is about Jesus.

Keep that in mind whether you have fasted for eight weeks or are just planning to catch a church service Sunday morning.

Kent Bush is publisher of the Augusta (Kan.) Gazette.