As a Christian, the Easter season has a significant meaning to me. It remembers and celebrates the death and resurrection of our saviour Jesus Christ.
The terminology of Easter means the remembrance of what is termed Holy Week. In today’s largely secular society the emphasis, though, is not on the true meaning, but on the holiday period when the majority of businesses do not open their doors, schools are closed, and people travel from home.
My childhood Easter weeks were spent in the cold climate of Ballarat where I attended Catholic boarding schools.
Because of my family circumstances, while students went home for this week, I spent the time living at the school. In my primary school years this school was Villa Maria, which was operated by the Sisters of Mercy, and, which the sisters would not be pleased to hear, I always regarded as an institution.
I, along with two or three other young boys, whose family circumstances I cannot recall, remained at Villa with the sisters, (or nuns as generally known). There was no other option. We were obliged to participate in the many religious ceremonies which were conducted.
Outside of these ceremonies there was little activity and we filled in our time as best we could. There were too few of us for organised sport and, frankly, I don’t recall what we did. Reasonable to suggest that it was a boring time.
My secondary education was conducted at St. Patrick’s College Ballarat, where the Christian Brothers were in charge. It needs to be said that this time was before the scandalous days of clergy paedophilia (to my knowledge and experience, anyhow).
As with Villa, there were many religious ceremonies, but the Brothers’ were, dare I say, more open minded than the nuns. Consequently, our involvement was not so onerous.
There was a larger number of students at St Pat’s, so there were several more students who did not go home. And so, outside of the ceremonies, we were more able to occupy ourselves.
One significant difference from Villa was that the Catholic girls’ boarding school, Loretto Convent, was within walking distance. One of St Pat’s duties was to provide altar boys for the Loretto ceremonies, and so the few boys at the college would vie for this duty.
Of course, similarly, there were fewer students remaining for Easter at Loretto, so there was a lesser chance of meeting with girls. Nevertheless, it was a worthwhile challenge!
As youngsters I doubt that any of us appreciated the holiness of the religious ceremonies. This was something which we had to come to grips with in later life, which was much more secular.
And so, my childhood remembrances of Easter are not really memorable.