I’ve been thinking about rituals lately, as many Christians are participating in the Lenten season that started a couple of weeks ago. My family grew up going to Catholic church, and during Lent, we’d choose to give up sweets and chocolates and desserts together for the forty days before the Easter feast.  At first, I really hated doing this, as you can imagine many kids would.  But I grew to love it because it became something special, a ritual I did every year with my family that had a sweet celebration at its end.

Now, I no longer live at home but I still practice giving up something at Lent.  There is something special about fasting, I think, because fasting is so opposite of what our current culture tells us to do: consume, consume, consume.  I’m overwhelmed by consumption.  Abstaining from something gives me a perspective that I often lack in my “if I want it I can buy it or eat it or possess it” world. This year I’ve chosen to forgo imbibing and am looking forward to feeling a bit more cleansed as we enter Spring.

And naturally, when I think of Spring and Easter, I also think of American Gods, when Shadow meets Easter for the first time in San Francisco:

“There was a woman sitting on the grass, under a tree, with a paper tablecloth spread in front of her, and a variety of Tupperware dishes on the cloth.  She was- not fat, no, far from fat: what she was, a word that Shadow had never had cause to use unit know, was curvaceous.  Her hair was so fair that it was white, the kind of platinum-blonde tresses that should have belonged to a long-dead movie starlet, her lips were painted crimson, and she looked to be somewhere between twenty-five and fifty.  As they reached her she was selecting from a plate of deviled eggs. She looked up as Wednesday approached her, and put down the egg she had chosen, and wiped her hand. ‘Hello, you old fraud,’ she said, but she smiled as she said it, and Wednesday bowed low, took her hand and raised it to his lips. He said, ‘You look divine.’ “