Easter without eggs – flashback to 2016

With the government of Zimbabwe struggling to meet civil servants pay dates, holidays such as Easter, Workers’ Day and Christmas are no longer the same. Trevor Makonyonga reflects on the Easter of 2016

Easter with no eggs

Broken holiday tradition

I have always been a huge fan of Christian religious holidays. This is not because of the food associated with the holidays but to a large extent because I believe in what the holidays represent. I do love the food too; a holiday is no holiday without the right food. Food is as important on Christian holidays as dancing is during the Diwali. I have seen how Indians have incorporated their Diwali dancing culture into their movies, it is amazing. In an Indian movie, a guy would be going to rob a bank but as he is about to get into action, he breaks into a song and there are dances all around. The dances increase suspense but at times they are boring. I must admit that I tend to like some of the dances.

Easter holidays of my childhood

The way I like those dances cannot be compared to the way I enjoyed my Easter eggs back in the day. At school, we would huddle together, as boys unwrapping the coloured foil paper. It was as if the outer colour of the foil paper meant a difference in the contents. I was always proud to be disappointed that in that foil was a fluffy white substance coated with chocolate. As a kid I had lost one or two teeth but I bet it was not because of the Easter season. I remember my mom bringing this huge rectangular box, open at the sides, with a huge brown egg like object in it. I loved that huge egg. Thick dark brown chocolate just for Easter! I was always proud to be a child of a government employee.

Sad Easter

Since I was young, things seem to have changed around my environment. I have a 10 year old younger brother who last year endured an Easter without eggs. The reason being that at the time of Easter, my mother hadn’t been paid and, consequently, there was no money for Easter eggs. She was only paid after Easter, but any chocolate that comes thereafter is just, well, chocolate. It was awesome when her pay date was before Easter because I most definitely know that my young brother would have enjoyed the eggs. It is never easy for my mother, or any parent whose child expects something while her employer keeps moving her pay dates. It is a case of the cigarette like we say here in Zimbabwe; bitten at one end and burning at the other end.

Uncertainty of payday

To my mother’s advantage though, my young brother might just grow accustomed to spending holidays without the appropriate food. At Christmas, in 2015, he did not have the rice and chicken that is customarily the Christmas food around here. Mother had not received neither her salary nor annual bonus so he just had to make do with what was there. What happened to those huge government chessboard-like calendars that had pay dates marked in red and holidays marked in green? Remember those? Right now the red marking seems to be a huge continuous marking stretching for two weeks. The workers have to expect payments at anytime within the marked range. So much for order! My young brother did not even get those “Christmas clothes” because of this huge red marking on the calendar which broke his heart but he survived. It was even worse, when Easter came round, and he learned that there was to be no chocolate bunny and eggs. No chocolate and marshmallow; awful Easter for a 10 year old.