Polo, Peeps and Movie Premieres: I Still Don’t Understand How Some People Celebrate Easter

April 19, 2014  |  

Whether you celebrate Easter, Resurrection Day or The Memorial, like every other holiday, unfortunately Easter Sunday has its fair share of commercialism. I’ve seen pastel Peeps lining store shelves since the day after Valentine’s Day and Sears Portrait Studio has been pimping the Easter Bunny in the weekend circulars for at least a month now. They even want people to bring their pets to get their pose on with the oversized rodent.

I’ll admit most of it is pretty darn cute. I love seeing little girls twirl in their Easter dresses with their barrettes and bows and dangling from their braids and puffballs. It’s funny how amazing regular eggs become when drowned in a little dollar store dye. But for some, Easter celebrations couldn’t be farther from what the holiday was intended for.

When I was a child my mother would set up Easter baskets and candy on the dining room table (always making sure to get yellow Marshmallow Peeps for my father). Chocolate Easter bunnies were no longer welcome in the house after our Yorkie Terrier stole and devoured a whole one when I was a toddler. A few early Easters she would buy my sister and I pretty dresses and take pictures.  Mom was never big on church on Easter Sunday, because she wasn’t big on religion all year round. Which brings me to my first tradition:  I don’t understand how people can make such a fuss out of praising the Lord in church on one day and don’t find the energy to do so any other day of the year. I’m not the most religious person, but I understand Christ doesn’t quite work that way. He’s not like the hairstylist that you slighted for the summer because you wanted to save some money and rock braids; he’s always waiting with open arms. But if you’re going to have faith, why not make the effort to incorporate it into your life for the rest of the year?

Speaking of church, most people aren’t going to make their annual appearance in the house of the Lord without being dressed to impress. I’ve witnessed people spend their whole tax return on “Easter” clothes. And we’re not talking about pink dresses and tailored suits. Every year at this time Polo and Air Jordan sales rise a little higher. People will fall behind on their student loan payments just so their babies can rock the new Lebrons in their Easter Sunday pictures. Again I ask, “What exactly does this have to do with Christ rising from the dead?”

I’m not knocking tradition. Even if it’s your family ritual to see the latest superhero movie every Easter Sunday, that still gives a child something to look forward to. It shapes your identity as a family and that’s what most important about the holidays. I’m not even saying that you even have to embrace the religious origin behind every holiday, but you should at least educate yourself and your children about it. After all, the Easter Bunny is a lot less scary to kids  than someone rising from the dead.  But your kids should know as much about the resurrection as they do retail when they’re celebrating the holiday. Whether you’re dying eggs or taking a half day at work so your baby can have the latest Air J’s to rock on Easter Sunday. As long as you’re spreading a message of family togetherness, that’s the best thing about the holiday. But if you’re going to make such a big deal out of Easter or any holiday for that matter, at least teach your children its history.

Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a  passion for helping  young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health.  She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about  everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.

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