Thursday, April 9, 2009
Easter: pagans, chocolate, heathen rituals and family fun
Easter. It's creeping up on us like an elephant in heels. Everywhere you look you're bombarded with Easter ads for chocolate, chocolate eggs, bunnies, and more chocolate. It's just très bizarre. How did it get so mixed up? There are sections in the supermarket that you can't even walk through because there are so many Easter eggs. They're not cheap either. No, they're using this holiday to make as much money as possible and they're using the suckers who buy into this crap to do it.
I will not be one of the suckers.
I do love chocolate though, so I'll use this holiday as an excuse to make truffles. It's a family favorite and it's affordable when you make it yourself. Our Easter celebration will be simple. We'll have a family lunch, which is always nice. We'll sit around and play cards or some game afterwards and we'll all laugh a lot and have tons of fun.
Last year and the year before that we did the whole "Jesus of Nazareth" bit with the kids. We showed them "The 10 Commandments" and other movies to explain to them what the Jews celebrate, and what the Christians celebrate. Then we feed them chocolate to show them what everyone else celebrates.
We can thank the Germans for all the chocolate over indulgence, by the way. They're the ones who started it all and it spread like wildfire because everyone's always looking for an excuse to eat more chocolate.
I'll always be surprised at all the pagan rituals Christians buy into. Over the years they get watered down and turn into something simple and innocent like a little old man bringing gifts to good children, or a bunny bringing colored eggs to good children, but way down in there they all come from some form of non-Christian ritual, celebration or folklore. While to some Easter is spring and a time to worship and celebrate the gods of fertility and fornicate in the open fields, to others it's a simple and happy time to overspend on something as simple as chocolate and to go crazy over pastel colors.
I'm not sure the devout have got it right either. I mean, there are Catholics who crucify themselves during this time of year in the hopes of gaining either forgivess or healing for a family member. That's just not right. I remember seeing pictures of this horrific and greusome tradition in the Phillipines when I was a child and I just remember feeling sick. It was very heathen and super, super creepy.
I'm not sure I'm going about this whole Easter business correctly and I have a sneaky suspicion that the Jews are the ones who've got it right. Everything they eat is symbolic and a reminder of what they went through and what they escaped. The songs they sing and the entire celebration is very specific and no matter how many thousands of years have gone by since the first Easter, it hasn't been adulterated and is still exactly the same.
In conclusion, my children are informed and know exactly what's hapenning. They are not crazy freaks who will one day crucify themselves, nor will they be spending millions on Easter eggs for everyone they know. They will not be eating bitter herbs either, but all in all, I think they will look at this holiday as a time to share good times with those they love and keep in mind that the zealot Christians, and the Jews are all doing their thing. They will remember without fanatacism what this day means and acknowlege that major things happened that should be respected by everyone.
I have a very fond memory though of when I was about 5 yrs old and we lived in this house in Curitiba. We sat around with Fajah (our Dad is an artist/painter) and dyed boiled eggs, painted hollow ones, and made baskets. The next morning we woke up at the crack of dawn to search the house for our Easter baskets. They didn't have any chocolate in them because my parents were macrobiotics, but they did have beautiful colored eggs and I think some honey candy too. Man! Those were good times! Maybe I should paint some eggs with mon enfants this year in honor of a very good Easter I remember having when I was 5. I totally painted eggs with my friends in later years, but that's the Easter I remember best.