Turns out this time of year is a holiday in just about every culture. Who doesn't want to celebrate spring? The sun was out today, and a mockingbird and a house finch were having a singing contest (usually the mockingbird would win that one easily, but this one wasn't very persistent). And for those of you in the southern hemisphere ... well, fall can be lovely too.
Slate had an odd article a couple of days ago, on Why Easter stubbornly resists the commercialism that swallowed Christmas. Jesuit priest James Martin speculates that Easter, unlike Christmas, remains a religious holiday because its subject matter is too, well, gory and serious to adapt well to fluffy children's stories. It's more fun to decorate your front yard with a scene of barnyard animals, angels and a newborn baby than a scene of a bleeding man being tortured and killed.
Well, okay, he may have a point. Except ... what religious holiday is he talking about? All through my childhood, Easter was the holiday of running around searching for brightly dyed hard-boiled eggs hidden outside, plus fluffy bunny rabbits, and lots of chocolate. (Well, on that last point, I suppose when you're a kid, just about any holiday calls for chocolate if you can talk your parents into it. Still, there generally were a lot of chocolate eggs and chocolate rabbits.)
It wasn't just my parents; just about everybody I knew, even the ones who went to church on Easter morning, did some sort of egg decorating or hunting. And I didn't see a lot of crucifixion figures decorating the neighborhood flyers or seasonal ads, just bunnies and painted eggs.
If anything, I'd say that the non-fluffy nature of the Christian Easter story makes Easter a much less religious holiday than Christmas. We may not send out Easter cards, but neither are we deluged with images of crucifixion.
Anyway, happy Vernal Equinox, Easter, Purim, Norooz, Holi, Magha Puja, and house finch singing day to everyone! Here, have some chocolate.
[ 21:42 Mar 23, 2008 More misc | permalink to this entry | ]