This is the week when the nation winds down early for a four-day weekend which, for many, will involve visiting family and stuffing our faces with Hot Cross Buns and cheap chocolate.
Despite the fact that Easter is the most important and, in my view, the most uplifting Christian festival, I would hazard a guess that a fair proportion of the population is completely unaware of the religious significance of this weekend.
Yes, church attendances will be up this Easter but the vast majority of Brits will stay away because religion ‘isn’t their thing’, preferring to enjoy the time away from the office in different ways.
There are many Christians, me included, who accept that you cannot force people into the pews or make them ponder the symbolism of their over priced, foil clad confectionary which they demolish well before the weekend is out.
But there are many who don’t agree with me, those who believe that the commercialisation of Christmas and Easter is not only an insult to our faith but contributes to an erosion of our society. These views came to the fore last week when those two central planks of British life, the National Trust and Cadbury came under fire from commentators, senior politicians and leading clergymen alike.
The row centred around the NT’s decision to drop the word ‘Easter’ from some of its marketing for its nationwide Egg Hunt, which it holds at its properties in partnerships with the chocolate giant.
Prime Minister Theresa May found time to brand the move “absolutely ridiculous” while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn agreed with both her and those who believe it was an example of how commercialisation had gone too far.
It speaks volume about the standards of politics in this country that serious players concerned themselves with a missing noun at the same time that it was revealed President Assad was responsible for gassing fellow Syrians.
It is worth noting that both Cadbury and the NT make plenty of references to the word Easter both on their websites and in marketing for the popular hunt, so it really was a row about nothing.
However there is clearly still a level of unease about the commercialisation of our culture but I say we should embrace it.
Sales of Easter eggs in this country last year were worth an impressive £220 million and it is a fair assumption that many of those transactions were made be people who won’t know a font from an altar. Is that really a problem? I think not and I would argue that those who stuff a giant sized Rolo egg down their cakehole while not giving a second thought to the chap who died on a cross over 2,000 years ago are actually embracing our culture rather than ignoring it.
Personally, I think most Easter eggs taste like dog chocolate, although it doesn’t stop me woofing down large chunks of my children’s huge batch during countless late night treks to the kitchen cupboard.
I am a firm believer that any participation is better than none at all and as long as there are chocolate eggs on supermarket shelves from December 28, then it means that Easter is attractive to consumers and that can only be positive.
If just one chocolate lover becomes curious about the message behind their egg this Easter then surely that is a good thing?
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