Holidays that don’t mean the same


TOMORROW Zimbabweans take a five-day breather to celebrate two holidays with contrasting significance in the colonial history of the country.
Good Friday marks the beginning of the Easter holidays, which run for four days up to Easter Monday.
Easter is considered the most important Church holiday on the Christian calendar for it is the anniversary to mark the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
The significance of this event sets Jesus apart in his link between believers and God.
When the British colonised us, one of their most important tools to ensure total submission of the indigenes was Christianity.
This meant we had not only to abandon our traditional religious practices, but also condemn such as primitive and pagan.
These were not sanctioned by God, we were told.
Little did we know then that a ‘great’ Christian holiday like Easter, thrust upon us by our colonisers has its origins in pagan worship.
We would still be celebrating Easter even if they had told us that it is a latter day holiday which had been blended with pagan festivals on fertility that could be linked to the resurrection of Jesus.
After all, celebrations of springing to life, like what Jesus did from the grave, fertility and potency are not strange to Africa.
But they could not acknowledge this, while at the same time they wanted us to cut all our links with our ‘primitive’ traditional beliefs.
We were thus left as virtual unquestioning ‘robots’ ready to be softened by the Christian word which portrayed our white colonisers as divine.
To them, the end justified the means, while deceit and lies along the way did not matter.
With a Bible in one hand and a gun in another, our colonisers were always trying to consolidate their stranglehold on the black population.
However, the indigenes could not tolerate this indefinitely.
The last resort was the armed struggle which has led to the Independence Day celebrations we are having on Tuesday, April 18.
Independence saw a non-racial Government, all with equal opportunities, disregarding race.
The Easter holidays, of which we had been informed to be part of the Western civilisation and Christianity was left intact.
No religion was prescribed to the nation.
The policy of reconciliation meant mutual acceptance of individual beliefs as swords which had been used to bring about a democratic Government were turned into ploughshares.
Empowerment programmes and the opening of opportunities for all has seen the end of racial discrimination in openings for upward mobility.
But as we celebrate on Tuesday, it is also a day to reflect on the grand sacrifices by those who shed their blood to ensure majority rule.
At the same time, we must also realise that not many are happy with our achievement and are daily plotting the downfall of governments headed by former liberation movements.
The same resolve that saw us come out victors against our heartless colonisers should see us triumph over forces of evil.
An important thing to note as we celebrate a holiday meant to entrench colonial rule and the other which marked its end, is that we must identify a common thread that runs through them.
Both value the sanctity of life.
The Christians, through pagan adopted and adapted festivals to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, while on the other hand, Zimbabweans as a whole, Christians included, pay homage to those who died in order to free their country.
We therefore must also value our own lives and those of others as we travel during this long holiday break.
Let’s be the ones who will give our own personal accounts of our traditional ceremonies and religious rites and whatever else we enjoy during this long break.
Don’t drink and drive!


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