Christianity vs. The Cream Egg

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Photo by Karen Blumberg

When searching the word ‘Easter’ on everyone’s favourite and trusted site, ‘Wikipedia,’ the first line that jumps onto the screen is this; ‘Easter (input various languages here) is a central feast in the Christian liturgical year.’ However before the word ‘Christian,’ most of our minds would have wandered off, dreaming of the “feast” that glorious Wikipedia speaks of and the chocolate that it involves. And that, of course, is the meaning of Easter for most of us.

My Easter weekends usually go something a little like this. Friday and Saturday are spent eating chocolate, in preparation for the chocolate that will be consumed on the Sunday, and weeks afterwards. On Sunday, we will then exchange the usual eggs with most of the family. From my mother, I usually receive something girly along the lines of make up, so I can look nice for the chocolate consumption. Then the most useful present will be from my nan who will offer me money, because despite being a Christian and understanding the joyous symbolism of the classic egg, ‘eggs are a rip off- you get no chocolate and they are too expensive. Go and buy yourself some jeans’ she’d say.  This advise is often very helpful, because once the last of the chocolate has been devoured, a couple of dress sizes will have been added.

This example clearly shows my general reflection on Easter, but is this really right? After recently working on an article about the consumerism involved in Valentine’s Day, it seems that Easter is going down a similar route. Just today, I walked through Boots, and instead of its counters being filled with Paracetamol and cures for that blue patch of skin you found on your thigh, the shelves are embellished with Malteser rabbits, caramel ducks and mini eggs in…. wait for it…. newly designed cardboard cartons. It could be called shocking to see marketing like this in a shop that is supposedly a pharmacy, but it did not shock me at all. It appears we have all become used to such consumerism that we do not even notice, and instead, I exclaimed with amazement at my favourite little coloured eggs being in such cute, new packaging.  I agreed with this type of marketing for the day of St Valentine, a day devoted to love and chocolate, but should a religious festival be treated in the same way? And this is when I realised, of course it should. This is exactly what we do for Christmas, except the chocolate is replaced by a far greater element; alcohol.

On Easter Monday, it is typical for a lot of families to go on holiday. On one occasion, a good friend travelled to Hastings, and managed to capture one of the few religious sights of the time. She gathered with her family at the bottom of a hill to watch a symbolic re-enactment of the crucifixion, with three actors on crosses at the top of the mound. However, after a while, it was rather apparent that the cold weather had affected “Jesus”  in a rather negative way, and instead of taking away religious sentiment, my lovely friend told the story of how “Jesus” nearly caught pneumonia as he pretended to be attached to a cross in Winter temperatures without any clothes on. And I wonder what the actor was thinking as he shivered in the coastal breeze? He was thinking back to that good old Wikipedia page and about that “feast,” and how in a few hours, he would be warm, watching TV and biting the heads off chocolate rabbits.

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