Well, firstly, and most superficially, because it is part of our American and family culture, I grew up with it, it is fun, and friends and family celebrate.
Secondly, and most importantly is for religious reasons. We are raising the kids to be respectful of and accepting of, all religion. As they say in Islam, La Allah illa Allah, there is no God but God. I believe in that. I also believe that it is us, humans, who screw things up by fighting over who is right and who is wrong when it comes to the other details and their interpretations. I believe we all worship the same divine spirit - we merely use different words and names. Another saying, as seen on T-shirts, is God is great, it is His fan(atics) that scare me.
God is great. I believe that He is all-knowing. I also strongly believe that humans are NOT all-knowing. While I believe it is important to follow your faith, I also believe it is good to accept that God has plans that we cannot, and are not meant to, understand. Just as He gave one person light skin, and another dark, or one person a liking for ketchup, and another for hot sauce, I also believe that He gave each of us different spiritual need as well, and therefore, the path that is true for one group to follow, is as legitimately true as the path he put another group. Therefore, I do not believe that you can force someone, not even your own children, to follow a religious path that does not fit who they are. We must provide a good foundation, good education, good examples, and let them choose which way to go - when they are ready, when they know who they are going to be for the rest of their lives.
If Brian and Honor choose to follow a Pagan path, or other non-Christian religion, well, having followed this fun (yes, commercialized, but warm, family tradition, nonetheless) mostly Christian celebration will have done no harm, and will hopefully, provide a positive association with Christianity. If they do choose to become Christians, then they will have similar childhood stories as their peers.
It is kind of tricky to explain all this to them, at their current ages. And to explain all about the deeper meanings of Easter, Christmas, Ramadhan, and other religious holidays and celebrations - esp. since we do not take them to church or other place of religion. We try to teach it as a part of history. Give them the facts, and let them build on that when they are older and more mature. In the meantime, let there be magic, bunnies, eggs, and chocolate :-) !
Oh, and thirdly, because I like threes, Easter and Pagan history are tightly intertwined. As the kids get older, we'll learn more together, in the meantime, enjoy this bit of reading (click on the snippet below for more):
Easter: The Victory of Light over Darkness
Written by Misty-Eve
Sunday, 23 March 2008
Celebrating the Victory of Light. No matter by which name you call it, there are many religions and traditions that celebrate the victory of light over darkness. The Christian return of Jesus after conquering death fits this theme perfectly, but did it begin there?
Ironically, the name 'Easter' was taken from the name of a Teutonic lunar Goddess, Eostre (from whence we also get the name of the female hormone, estrogen). Her chief symbols were the bunny (both for fertility and because her worshipers saw a hare in the full moon) and the egg (symbolic of the cosmic egg of creation), images which Christians have been hard pressed to explain."
Easter morning began this year with Ramses and Brian waking us up at sunrise.
Honor was a little harder to rouse.
Oh good! It looks like the Easter Bunny was able to get past the soldiers and guards and come to our apartment! We told them that they would let her through, but the kids were a little worried. They both adored the baby bunnies entrusted to their care.
Easter festivities at our apartment are tricky because we do not have a garden to hunt for eggs in. Fortunately, the Easter Bunny has experience with apartments and is very tricky, and sneaky, when it comes to hiding eggs... even indoors. Here, baby Cinderella is an accomplice.
Brian digs through the brassware.
There was no bickering over who found what where, and they shared and traded for favorite color eggs as they hunted.
Look! There's even an egg in mommy's sandal! Silly Bunny!
Brian knows there's an egg close by and searches the RC car 'garage'.
Honor found the egg!
So, did you have fun? I'll take that as a yes!