Sunday, September 4, 2011

Spring, Southern Hemisphere Style

South Africans know how to celebrate spring.  September 1, while not exactly the spring equinox, is known as "Spring Day."  People dress crazily at work, call it "Casual Day" and donate to charity.  Children get to wear civvies to school instead of their uniform.  We get ice cream at church on the first Sunday in September, and there is always a big, colourful celebration. 

I used to wonder why.  It seemed a bit... "pagan" to me, almost as if the season itself was worshiped.  But this year, I finally figured it out.  Let me explain:

You Northern Hemispherers (is that a word?) celebrate Easter in spring.  The analogy of new life is visually displayed by nature - flowers are beginning to bloom, trees that lay dormant all winter are budding,  baby chicks are hatching, the sun is shining, etc.  It's all very convenient for you.  You have an instant visual of what our lives look like when Jesus redeems us.

Here in the Southern Hemisphere, however, we celebrate Easter in autumn.  The weather is turning cold, leaves are falling off trees and everyone is preparing for the long, cold winter ahead.  And I have to confess, it's hard to be excited about Jesus rising from the dead when I am preparing to wear my coat 24/7 for three solid months.  There are no pastel colours at Easter in South Africa.  No picnics.  No lilies.  Just... impending gloom.

Ah, but come September we can celebrate.  It's Palm Sunday all over again.  The bright colours come out.  New life triumphs once again.  We sing Hosanna to the King.  And we eat ice cream... because we can.

1 comment:

Elisabeth said...

Vanilla with peanut butter, perhaps?