1) Idiot secularism: It doesn't take too much in the way of thinking to realize that a woman as dim as Elly has raised three children who know as little of organized religion as she does; Mike might wonder why they only show up at Church on big holidays but he's the only one. The other, dimmer children tend towards an understanding of the Gospels that you'd swear was created by the script writers at Rankin-Bass.
The Easter Sunday 1980 had Mike question why the Pattersons don't attend church more often.
Two years later, he said that if he were present back in the days of the New Testament, he'd have shown the Romans a thing or two; we follow that with his not understanding the doctrine of original sin.
2) Overemphasis on folk beliefs: Since the Pattersons aren't terribly religious, it's sort of obvious that rabbits who deliver eggs figure more in their thinking than what Easter is really about.
In the weeklies for Easter 1982, Elly wrung her hands with worry because Mike was questioning the existence of the Easter bunny; John's response was to harrumph that children wanted to know things before he was ready to tell them.
We notice to our alarm that both April and Meredith are likely to get their signals crossed; this seems to indicate that despite the feeble attempts others might make to enlighten them, all they think of when Easter comes around is they get to dress up fancy and hear about this odd fellow who said and did strange things for reasons that escape them.
3) Gluttony: This leads to what the children really think the holiday is about: cramming their little mouths with candy-candy-candy. We get to see that Mike, Lizzie, April and Meredith will do any damned thing to get their chocolate fix. No deed is too shameless for the little junkies so we should prepare ourselves for a nasty time.
The 1981 Sunday strip had Mike explain away gobbling down his rabbit.
The 1987 Sunday strip had a man of the cloth explain that he gets to eat some of the candy that was smuggled into Church.
The 1988 Sunday strip featured Mike and Lizzie shoving so much candy into their greedy mouths, they had no room for the stuff Phil brought them.
The 2000 Sunday strip revolved around April's love of chocolate animals.
The 2006 Sunday strip depicted Meredith going all hyper after eating one chocolate bar.
4) Stupidity: This is, of course, because they and their parents are ridiculous cretins: the same people who leave hard-boiled eggs out when they know an opportunistic carnivore has free run of the house while they're absent and who think that Easter parades are about them are not going to be able to either stay their children's coarser appetites or answer the questions that matter. All one gets is mush and drivel.
This 1987 strip had Elly give a long-winded answer to a question Liz had that could have best summed up by "I don't know."
The 1986 Easter Sunday has Lizzie at an Easter egg hunt not seeing the eggs all around her; she's either too timid to look or this is the first sign that she needs glasses.
The 1990 Easter Sunday has Liz hiding the eggs but forgetting that Farley doesn't know not to eat them.
The 2005 Sunday strip had Mike explain that he told Meredith Deanna produced chocolate breast milk on Easter.
5) Martyrdom: Simply put, Elly thinks that Jesus had it easy; if he wanted to know what suffering really was, he should have been a busy mother with no help and no time for herself. Yes, I went there; what's more, I brought back souvenirs.
The 1983 Easter sequence had Elly do a slow burn because Lizzie wouldn't sit still despite wearing a cute dress; one of the other mothers at the parade asked Elly "Isn't the parade for the children instead of the mothers?" to which Elly basically responded "Don't confuse me with the truth; I like yelling at my children and DON'T want to think about THEIR feelings."
We also had to contend with Elly not understanding a little chaos here or there never really hurt anyone.
To sum things up, what we have is a ring-side seat at a family who simply goes through the motions without really knowing why they do things. It's sort of depressing that this is more common than we'd like to think.