Many of the occasions humans celebrate are based on biblical or personal spiritual beliefs, yet, aside from some very serious faiths we have become a society that insists on focusing on the celebratory aspects that have absolutely nothing to do with the occasion itself. In fact, we’ve even allowed – almost invited – a more grand invasion of these occasions through the commercialism of everything we know.
So permit me to go back to being a child, were the recognition of the crucifiction of Christ and the Easter Bunny at least shared the same stage. My brother and I, thanks to our parents, understood the first and foremost meaning of Easter, but let’s be honest, recognizing the death of Jesus is a difficult concept to grasp for a child who believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and yes, the Friendly Giant.
We weren’t the most religious of families, in fact, I remember my father once saying “we’re Protestants, all we have to do is drive by the church once a year and wave hello”. But as kiddies, we went to Sunday school, and we learned at least the basics, and we said grace at dinner time, bedtime prayers, and we were taught many of the morals that stem from the goodness that comes from the bible. That being said, we loved Easter for the goodies on Easter Sunday. We’d put out our coloured wicker baskets all lined with even more colourful shredded plastic cellophane stuff, and in the morning we’d wake up to a basket filled (by the Easter Bunny of course), with chocolate eggs, those coloured eggs with white sugar centres, and a hollow chocolate rabbit in a hard plastic wrap inside a box of which the ears were always the first bits to be consumed. Everything had to do with bunnies and eggs. There were no chocolate Jesus’ on a cross (that would be sacrilegious), is the point I’m trying to make.
We’d hunt for eggs which were hidden in two ways, well hidden (like in the electrical sockets), for my older brother to find, and ridiculously obvious places (like in the ashtray on the coffee table) for me to find. Some of the more well hidden eggs would be discovered by the dog in August, and as a family we’d joke and laugh at the fact that mom could hide the eggs so well, or that we just weren’t good enough at finding them back in the springtime.
So tell me why it is then that this wonderful tradition of bunnies and eggs has evolved into what I call the “Third Easter Celebration”? You heard me! Just take a trip to your local grocer, a department store or auto mechanic and you’ll find that baskets are now "bags" - BIG bags, or boxes printed with "American Idol" or other TV show logos. There's hollow chocolate "everything" for Easter, but hardly a bunny anywhere! There’s Harry Potter's, Disney characters, Star Wars heroes Shrek and more. Give it a couple of years and we’ll see hollow chocolate AK-47’s, iPads, and flat fucking big screen TV’s for Christ’s sake! Doesn't anyone care about the damned rabbit anymore? Why is it we have to completely commercialize everything beyond recognition or so far removed from the tradition itself that it becomes a tribute to a favourite movie, electronic device or wartime pleasure?
Sometimes I’m super glad that I don’t have kids because I can escape trying to instill a sense of tradition on them while being bombarded with all the interferences that come from societal corporate sponsorship. I mean, look what they’ve done to Christmas! Hell, the commercialization of that comes before Halloween each year, and continues well into January as people flock to get their “post Christmas” items. People can’t even be bothered to remove their Christmas lights because they’re too flipping lazy (or do they actually think the rest of us like their decorated homes so much that we’d be disappointed if they were removed?). I know people that put up their Christmas trees November 1st! I bet these people also bitch and complain when the hydro rates go up.
Have any of you seen Easter and Halloween trees available at places like Winners? Yup… you can buy an Easter tree and hang eggs from it. You can purchase little skeletons and decorate your artificial black All Hallows Eve tree too. Pretty soon we’ll have the Easter bunny flying in on some shuttlecraft from a Star Wars movie pulled by eight zombies, blasting his way through your front door with an automatic rifle, and tossing “save our soldiers” eggs on the floor and putting pink ribbons on the walls, while giving you wrapped presents like electronic tablets and hollow chocolate pumpkins, and you’ll hear from his craft as he flies out of sight...
“Happy Easter to all, and to all a coupon in your basket for a buy one Quarter Pounder get another for half price at MacDonald’s tonight!”