My son and I dyed eggs a couple of hours ago.
For Easter of course, not out of boredom.
While making a total mess of the kitchen counter and sacrificing two kitchen towels, all I could think of was, why are we doing this?
Most of all, I was nervous about my answer if he asks me why are we doing this.
As expected the grand question flew right by the messy counter and hit me in the forehead: “mama, why are we painting the eggs?”
Not only that, he went on telling me that his “tummy will hurt” if he eats coloured eggs.
I laughed at the logic of this 3-year-old (- 3 days).
Still an answer I didn’t produce.
Then I thought about the obsessions we people create for ourselves when doing everything around feasts, holidays, and holy days.
Including when colouring eggs.
Obsessions isn’t the right word.
Races and competitions – more likely it.
Racing about who’ll colour the eggs in the most original way. Me, my sister-in-law, or her sister-in-law, or my son’s friends’ moms, or a random female neighbour who may come by to check on my Easter eggs.
I have a girlfriend in front of whom I’ll be deeply ashamed if I had to show her my basket of dull 2 yellow, 1 red, 1 unknown colour, and 1 green egg.
She’s so artistic and creative that if there was a Cartazini award for best decorated Easter eggs, she’d get one.
On every Easter!
And how about the food on Easter – that’s a big race, who’ll make more of this and better of that.
Only Christmases can trump Easters with the mountains of food that’s being prepared.
Then the other extreme and confusion for my own mind to comprehend, let alone explain in words (at least my son doesn’t ask that far yet): Mardi Gras prior to Lent.
Or also known as Fat Tuesday, which is right before Ash Wednesday. My, what’s with the names?
People feast brazenly on food, satisfying every desire they have. A day, or sometimes several – before they start fasting.
South American and Caribbean husbands take it even further during the carnivals preceding Lent.
Mexian ‘maridos’ officially have a granted day of liberty from matrimonial obligations of fidelity. So, on El Dia del Marido Oprimido they can indulge into a nice extramarital fun night.
And how is that again part of Christian religion?
I can see the Pope saying “you can sin on Tuesday son. On Wednesday you’ll be forgiven, don’t worry.”
Have fun and then starve and pray to honour your God?
Colour eggs and make them better than the Heathorns across the street?
I am still not getting it.
I still have no answer to give to my son.
Either way, I like my simply coloured eggs.
It’s a representation of some sort.
And fun for my kids.
My son certainly enjoyed the activity and the mess.
When he grows up, he’ll reason it out himself.
It’s all blended confusions of pagan symbolism and grandma’s traditions, customised by my mom.
Perhaps colouring the eggs is exactly that: the memories of my grandma’s and my mom’s preparations for the celebration of something that happened long, long ago, something for which some people feel sad about every year.
Could that be a possible explanation of why we colour eggs?
I’d take it, if my son asks me again.
It’s a good one.
And as simple as 2 yellow, 1 red, 1 unknown colour, and 1 green egg.