A large, ‘wow-factor Easter egg’ is on display in the shop window of a supermarket in Manchester’s city centre. Beneath it is a bold message that reads: ‘There’s nothing quite like a bit of extravagance at Easter’.
Many would have thought that perhaps there is nothing quite like remembering the resurrection of Jesus Christ; which many Christians across the city – and indeed the world – are marking today.
Without being misconstrued as Easter’s Grinch-like villain (in blunt terms, a person who despises Easter), isn’t it fair to suggest the original message of Easter has been lost into tinselled bunnies and other foiled confectionary – turning the holidays into a weekend where shoppers splurge their payday cash?
As the Bible says, Christ died having been crucified on Good Friday before his resurrection three days later. Easter is arguably the most important feast in the Christian calendar, which is why churches across Manchester – as did Pope Francis in Vatican City – commemorate the day with a special Easter mass.
With a very low turnout at Manchester Cathedral’s vigil last night, it’s curious that retailers attract more people during this period. Contrasting the two calls for a closer look at why the focal point of traditions has shifted from church mass to Easter bunny suits and egg hunts.
According to official figures produced by the Church of England, over a million people attended Easter Sunday services in 2013 compared to nearly 34 million Christians in the country.
The reasons are more of a conjecture than conclusive. The aforementioned supermarket is among a string of many who’ve been accused of widening the gap between Easter and its religious significance. In one bizarre incident, a woman was banned from using the words ‘Jesus’ or ‘Christ’ in her delivery message upon ordering a bouquet of flowers online for Easter. When confronted to comment, the supermarket said the measure was in place “to prevent the misuse” of those words.
Even more startling, a shopper recently asked the Meaningful Chocolate Company (Easter egg suppliers) what Easter had to do with the Church.
Nearly a third of UK’s children (Church of England survey 2013) think that Easter marks the birth of the Easter bunny, while over 50 per cent have no clue about its religious meaning.
Although Easter Sunday mass may not be ‘cool’, there is no denying it brings many families and communities together.