This is Easter Tide and it is also Spring. As a child I remember celebrating the season of Lent and having the Lent boxes at home which were used to collect money for the Leprosy Society.
Prior to the start of Lent we always marked Shrove Tuesday with traditional pancakes. It was an annual ritual.
Other days which formed and important part of our calendar were Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. We marked all these days and almost always, even as children attended church for special services.
The week prior to Easter was a solemn time of contemplation. On Good Friday no work was done on the farm as a mark of respect to the innocent Christ, as this was the time of greatest suffering as he died cruelly nailed to the wooden cross by his Roman executioners.
Easter Sunday however was a time of great excitement and joy. We all walked to church, and it was usually chilly, but the yellow daffodils were always in bloom,with snow drops, yellow primroses and purple crocuses too.
I remember Mrs Cook who was always at the front of the church leading the singing of Alleluia He is risen and finding such inspiration from faith in Christ rising from the dead. Everyone gathered outside the church afterwards and wished each other an enthusiastic Happy Easter.
Around us, signs of spring, renewal with fresh green grass and the hope of summer.
Later in the day we would always have an Easter egg hunt and I remember how much fun this was for us kids.
In Mexico Semana Santa forms a very significant part of the church calendar in this predominantly Catholic country. The influence of the Catholic church in uniting ordinary Mexican people is profound and powerful and I would argue the most unifying force in Mexico.
There are daily services and pageants and reenactments of the crucification all over the country. Mexicans are unashamedly passionate about Easter.
I still and always will wish people a Happy Easter and I say it with all the good heartedness I possess. I realize that for some this may now be politically incorrect, but I do not think I can or want to change a lifetime of sharing the joy of Happy Easter.
In Mexico the notion of political correctness does not exist. It is refreshing in its own way to meet people totally oblivious of this idea. In Mexico on Easter day you will be wished an enthusiastic Happy Easter. Happy Spring although a pleasant good wish too would never be offered.
I actually feel very much at home with this aspect of Mexican culture and find it quite endearing as folk go on with their lives in peaceful oblivion.
Just now I am back in Calgary a world apart, but in my heart I am celebrating Easter once again and the memories I have stored over many years. This is Easter, this is Spring but forgive me if I hold onto the old familiar and dare to wish you all a joyous and Happy Easter.