Thoughts on Easter Sunday

For most of us outside of the church, and not intimate with the relationship between the tilt of the earth as it rotates around the sun, Easter is spring and chocolate bunnies.

Reynolds, 1846. Royal Museums Greenwhich

For those who care about facts, however, spring begins with the Vernal Equinox. In 2020, in my part of the world, day and night were about the same length on the 20 March.

On that day it was -15deg. C. and the ground was covered with snow — not very spring-like at all. Since then, we’ve had some warmer days, the snow has been melting, geese have been honking, the rabbits pronking, and there is a distinct feeling that spring is finally here.

The Three Crosses by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1653. The Met.

As an agnostic, I shy away from religion. But as a cultural Christian and as a lover of art and music, Easter Sunday still has an attraction. I will listen to Bach’s Easter cantatas, I will look at art depicting the crucifixion and the resurrection, and I may even gnaw on a bunny.

Adoration of the Lamb from the Ghent Altarpiece. van Eyck 1432.

And, although Covid-19 has removed the chance of a family dinner, my wife and I will still have a special meal, featuring lamb. Suitably symbolic, and toothsome too.

Detail from The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb (The restored Ghent Altarpiece)

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