Whether or not we have any religious interest, most people in the UK look forward to Easter for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the main one is the chance of a really long weekend – although more and more businesses work on Good Friday, having the weekend wedged between Bank Holidays makes for a four-day break for many, which can’t be bad.
And then, of course, there’s the chocolate. Those Easter eggs that have been so effectively filling the spaces on the supermarket shelves left by recent stock-piling. Personally, I can’t see the point of them – although the bright wrappers are pretty, a decent slab of chocolate is far more cost-effective.
I think a third reason is that Easter’s traditional meaning of renewal and resurrection has filtered through and become caught up with other, non-religious seasonal associations: we hope for a sunny weekend as a first taste of the summer to come, as an excuse to dress up in our summer clothes again and get out and socialise. In the past, we might have donned our Easter bonnet – “with all the frills upon it”, hopefully a new bonnet, but, if not, at least refurbished with new ribbons and trimmings – and joined the Easter parade.
I always think of those bonnets when I see the pink frills and flounces of prunus blossom at this time of year.
Of course this year we’re all in lockdown and there were no parades. But we have had some lovely weather, even if today’s bank holiday morning is not quite so bright, at least outside my window.
No doubt it’s clear from my last few posts that I’ve been thinking about the lockdown quite a lot, and about how it is affecting behaviours and attitudes. And it occurred to me a couple of weeks ago that the new Easter fashion might well be:
social distance crinolines
accessorised by leper bells
There was no sign of either on my Easter walk yesterday. But the daffodils had decked themselves in white – the correct liturgical colour for Eastertide. (Moving on from the Lenten purple of the primulas that open this piece.)
The sun is already beginning to break through and I think it will be another lovely sunny afternoon, so here’s an early draft of a poem based on observations at the supermarket last week.
The sunshine’s here to stay, it seems;
like it or not, so are we. No holidays;
no city weekend break; no reason
to show off new summer outfits.
Our outings are restricted, now,
to supermarket trips. While older ladies
strut the aisles in chiffon frocks and heels,
young girls wear skimpy tops and shorts,
bare legs and sandals. Only the cashier
seems to have missed the memo: she wears
sparkly winter gloves. Face masks
are not yet de rigueur.