Holidays can either be a time of profit-oriented trips or wholesome family fun
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Easter is the most important and oldest festival of the Christian Church, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This holiday’s religious beginnings have lead to customary traditions, some of which include egg decorating and feasting, and many of which have been the result of mass commercialization in the modern landscape, seeing wide sales of greeting cards and confectionery such as chocolate Easter eggs as well as other Easter foods.
However, modern easter traditions such as the easter bunny and egg are actually not commercial inventions. The Easter Bunny originated from the goddess Easter, who was worshiped by the Anglo-Saxons through her early symbol, the rabbit. Then, the Germans brought the symbol of the Easter rabbit to America, making the exchange of eggs in the spring a centuries old custom, first celebrated by Christians. Today, children hunt colored eggs and place them in Easter baskets along with the modern version of real Easter eggs – those made of plastic or chocolate candy. But, commercialization of Easter has left Christian traditions behind. Buying ready-made eggs is always filled with pitfalls. The finished eggs alienate us from the customs; hand making the eggs is an integral part of Easter. In many religions, including Christianity, the egg is a symbol of life and resurrection. And to a certain extent, the Easter Bunny was a symbol of the resurrection in the church. But it wasn’t until the 20th century, during the great boom of the chocolate industry, that the Easter bunny actually became the world-famous symbol it is today.
This is a clear example of how industries are powerful forces in shaping modern culture. For many, Easter means gifts, free time and consumerism. Easter egg hunts and the Easter bunny are a large part of that. Additionally, when reflecting on Easter church visits, we must remember that Easter is the most important Christian holiday. But for many people, the fact that a man named Jesus is supposed to have died on the cross and then rose again is so absurd that they say it’s implausible. For them, Easter means taking a trip, possibly to a shopping mall.
This spring break, my family decided to get out of the house and explore the quaint town of Middleburg, Virginia to see new sights. The highlight of the trip was getting a surprise opportunity to go ziplining. During the ziplining adventure, our guide handed us hand painted eggs and explained that they were celebrating the Easter holiday by allowing customers to throw eggs at a target underneath the zipline. At first, I questioned the main motive behind this. After all, there are so many heated debates on whether or not big holidays like Christmas have become commercialized. It’s almost expected to have grown a hard shell towards holiday-related goods or services.
However, my attitude slowly changed over the course of the ziplining adventure. After I scored a bullseye with the painted egg, I received a warm and spirited congratulations from the guides and the fellow customers. I was surprised. I was having the most fun I’ve had in a long time. From smiling faces to excited high fives, I suddenly realized an epiphany – while commercialization may mean businesses treating holidays as an asset for a profit, looking past that to see the communal value of the holiday lies the true meaning of not just Easter, but other holidays too. So, if the party is genuinely having fun, everyone is laughing, and there’s not a care in a world, then that should be the true point of celebrating a holiday.