To treat myself on Saturday, I waited in line at a French patisserie to pick up macaroons. It was a longer line than usual because it was Easter. That meant the parking lot was super full, and people were making purchases. I had forgotten that holiday weekends meant bigger crowds. A dog napped on the floor while his human made purchases.
There were some surprises: a baked Choux pastry called a Paris Brest, and a giant Easter bunny that was as big as the Husky that was patiently waiting for his humans to pick up their purchases. I wasn’t going to get it, especially since it was priced at $150, but caught the eye. Instead, I got the Paris, which was a Choux pastry filled with praline cream, and some macaroons. Some memories also came back from other holiday pastries.
I admit we don’t celebrate Easter. My family isn’t religious, and the last time that I did an Easter egg hunt was in preschool, where we’d run to find eggs in the grass. We definitely do not do the whole Passion of the Christ thing because I was raised Hindu. Easter weekend is just another weekend with some holiday specials and cartoon shorts.
With that said, the rituals for Easter look fun, the ones that aren’t associated with going to church. I wasn’t good at egg hunts, but there was joy in finding an egg in the middle of the grass, if one felt great. A friend was telling me he and his family were having fun dyeing Easter eggs. He asked if I had ever done it. I admitted not since I was three or four, and those memories are fuzzy. He suggested doing it once would be fun. It would, except I didn’t know anyone in the family who would eat a colored hardboiled egg after they were found.
Easter was also the only holiday for club fundraising that hadn’t been claimed by other clubs. A few of us were inspired by reading about Grameen Bank and a classmate had founded a club where we’d raise money to donate to microlending charities. I’m a big fan of the Chocolat series by Joanne harris, where the first book centers on a conflict where an agnostic chocolatier wants to host an Easter festival in a strictly Catholic town, where the priest believes that Lent is a time of denial. I thought we could do something different, an Easter festival to raise funds for microloans, and help the club last long after we graduated. As someone who played violin, I could busk for charity money, other kids could show talent, and we could maybe sell chocolates.
It was a futile effort. Twice in a row, I’d try to go into the networks and the school administrators to give us Easter. We may have succeeded in our senior year, and I was making progress, emailing businesses to ask if they could donate chocolate or such. Then it got canceled abruptly, a few weeks before the holiday, despite my persistent asking if we had gotten approval. The club leader, Rafi, thanked me for my effort and gifted me with Yunnus’ follow-up memoir. I still have it in our family library.
To this day, I don’t know why some clubs got to sell candy on Halloween, my actual favorite holiday, but we couldn’t get the approval to stage an event that would have been fun and memorable for a good cause to boot. Maybe there was concern about liability or scheduling the weekend in question. I took it in stride, though, and figured there would be a parallel universe where an Easter chocolate festival happened on campus grounds.
One thing I definitely want to learn is how to make filled chocolate eggs. It may take a while given one would need tempered chocolate, some brushes, and a lot of patience. That will require some refinement and finesse to boot.
We all find our ways to take part in normalized rituals, even if they don’t involve giant chocolate bunnies. Also, maybe we can add more fun to it, with no church, or a dog napping in line.