Actors take part in the crucifixion scene during an interactive Passion play in Malta. Easter is the most important and oldest festival of the Christian Church, celebrating the resurrection of Christ. Picture: Darrin Zammit Lupi/AP
Johannesburg - According to the Oxford dictionary, Easter is the most important and oldest festival of the Christian Church, celebrating the resurrection of Christ and held (in the Western Church) between March 21 and April 25, on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the northern spring equinox. It is the weekend from Good Friday to Easter Monday.

Today, this important weekend is celebrated in ways that have redefined the sacredness of this amazing Christian festival.

When I look back, 10 to 15 years ago, Easter weekend meant almost everyone in my community was going to church, especially the young people in our village. Our community has a lot of traditional churches.

We have the Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, ZCC and many charismatic churches. The Easter weekend meant the “collection plates” were going to be full. Because, those from Makgoweng (that word I hate so much, which means from the city), are coming in big numbers and will be filling those seats that are empty most of the time.

This time also meant people who hardly go to church but are around the community will pay a visit, at least for two days, or the whole weekend.

My cousin, Prince, would say: “You know us, even if we do not go to church every Sunday of the week, but we must go to church at least during Easter for a weekend to remind God that we are still His children.” We call them “Easter weekend church specials”.

Today, it is a different story.

I have already seen more than three Easter weekend posters advertising bashes that will be taking place in our community. The young people no longer see the importance of celebrating this famous Christian holiday. Instead, they see it as an opportunity to gather, drink lots of alcohol, play music, and enjoy their youthfulness.

This got me thinking. What was so sacred about the past decade or so that we would all want to be seen at church then than we do now?

What has changed in us as a generation that we would rather be anywhere else but at church?

We religiously practise Ecclesiastes 11, verse 9 very well. It says: “You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see”

It does not end there, it further says: “ know that for all these things, God will bring you judgement”.

The last part freaks me out as a Christian. To know that I will be judged by God makes me want to be very careful on how I celebrate my youth. Most importantly, the Easter weekend was a main event for many of us to revive our spirits. Yes, we may not be at church for almost 50 weekends of the year, but the Easter weekend was, for us, a way to connect our souls with the creator, God, and ask for the forgiveness of our sins.

Another beautiful part about the Easter weekend was spending some quality time with family. This is something that has lost its significance among young people too.

I know we are young, wild and free. Most importantly, I know we have rights to live our lives as we see fit. However, I think it is equally important for us young people to look after our spirituality. Especially if we don’t get a chance to attend church most of the time.

Furthermore, many lives are lost during this crucial time in the Christian calendar.

To the young people who are so impatient on the roads and drive many fast cars, let’s not drink and drive. There is life beyond the Easter weekend, and there are people who depend on you and those you share the road with.

Happy Easter Weekend!

* Kabelo Chabalala is the founder of the Young Men Movement (YMM). Email, [email protected]; Twitter, @KabeloJay; Facebook, Kabelo Chabalala.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Read more from Kabelo Chabalala:

I am an angry young black man

Why I stopped going to church