Let's celebrate Easter - and new life
PUBLISHED: 10:32 30 March 2018
Whetyher you're religious or not, there's no denying that Easter is all about new life, says Nick Conrad.
Easter is all about new life and I adore this time of year. The previous allure of winter, roaring fires and steaming mugs of tea, has long gone. Wishing to cast away from the darkness, any sign of new life is both heartwarming and up-lifting.
Norfolk has looked beautiful, but bleak, since the kaleidoscope of colour that is autumn departed. The little green buds and shoots jutting out are a constant reminder of the Easter message. Whether in the Christian symbolism of the Resurrection or in folk traditions of hares and eggs, renewal of life is the common factor. Easter is paradoxical in its imagery. Empty caves verses chocolate eggs, daffodils in contrast to a crown of thorns, but all these images lead us to the same conclusion. After life, there is life. It’s very personal as to whether we subscribe in the religious or biological context - either way the Easter message carries a broad appeal.
Springtime is a celebration of life’s victory, which precedes, and for many succeeds, the religious narrative attributed to this time of year. In the Northern Hemisphere, spring sees life return to the soil following the desolation of winter. This new vitality concludes a great circle - life follows death, follows life and so on. What a stark contrast to us humans, who when committed to the grave, don’t spontaneously emerge full of verve unlike those vibrant daffodils.
I draw on my own recent experiences. My wife gave birth to our third child a week ago. Trying to explain what was going to happen to my four-year-old daughter and 20-month-old son was hilarious. The whole idea of pregnancy and birth, to them, must seem so implausible and bewildering. One minute they can see a wriggling mass in mummy’s tummy, the next a wailing perfectly tiny baby appears nestled in her arms.
So how best to explain Easter, new starts and the circle of life? This year my annual pilgrimage down to the farm is even more poignant. It helps us all understand the miracle of life and connects youngsters with how a farm works - and ultimately where our food comes from. Just the chance of seeing a lamb born excites the crowds. For the lucky ones who do catch that special moment it will stay with them for quite some time.
Farms across the county will open their gates to the public this weekend. My personal favourite is the beautiful farm on the Felbrigg Estate. They make you so welcome and go above and beyond to engage the youngsters in the whole process. Coupled with a walk around the historic grounds of the National Trust-owned parkland, it’s a lovely family day out.
Open Farms are a magical place for little eyes and hands at Easter. My little ones are fascinated with feeding cows, sheep, and ducks (to name a few). It also gives us parents a chance to educate the next generation about looking after and respecting animals. I accept that for some readers the ultimate destination for these animals is literally and figuratively unpalatable. I respect that, however the farms that choose to open to the public put great emphasis on good husbandry.
I hope that this Easter is more than chocolate eggs and Easter bunnies for you. I hope you too find the symbolism behind Easter inspiring, regardless of whether you subscribe to the wider religious message.
I’m not sure that ‘Happy Easter’ is the correct terminology for this time of year. That said, I wish you all a fantastic and relaxing Easter weekend.