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 unaware of the religious significance of this weekend. Yes, church attendances will be up this Easter but the majority 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 confectionary.
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 when the National Trust and Cadbury came under fire from commentators, politicians and 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.
It is worth noting that both Cadbury and the NT make plenty of references to the word Easter on their websites and in marketing for the popular hunt, so it really was a row about nothing.
However, there is 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 £220m and it is a fair assumption that many of those transactions were made by people who won’t know a font from an altar. Is that really a problem? I think not and I would argue that they are actually embracing our culture rather than ignoring it. I am a firm believer that any participation is better than none at all, it means 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?