Stop Press: Easter is a RELIGIOUS festival… oh & btw so is Christmas

26 Mar

News Flash: So a Travelodge survey finds that half of all kids think Easter is about bunnies & chocolate. I’m not surprised.

I’m getting fed up with this constant pushing of treats to our children on religious festivals with barely – or any – mention of the god-connection.

In a world where (some) parents are trying really hard to convince their children that the whole world does not revolve around treats – either of the present or chocolate variety – these religious festivals are just becoming insane.

Christmas is about the birth of Christ, Easter marks the resurrection. It’s not complicated but it is Christian. As a Jew (loosely speaking) I want my children to learn about all religions and their significant dates – I fundamentally believe that this is the only way to break down barriers in the long term. Why can they not be taught this first and foremost in schools and nurseries, rather than the main event being the present or the food associated with it. It’s all completely back to front?

But more than that, in another way, the less we mark their religious significance, the more these events become solely centred around the commercial. So Christmas is now all about Santa, stockings full of presents and chocolates on the tree rather than baby Jesus, a stable, wise men etc. Similarly Easter is now solely about chocolate for many children. I have not heard my kids mention Jesus at all yet. My three year old’s Easter party this afternoon consisted of a tea and Easter egg hunt. He ate 2 sandwiches, 1 piece of sponge with chocolate icing, one chocolate nest, one chocolate biscuit, one chocolate bunny and some hot cross bun. Not a single mention of what Easter is really about. Seriously not one.

I’m fed up with it, not only does it engender religious ignorance, but it also undermines the healthy eating message we so desperately need to impart to our children and the ability to help them learn to make the right eating choices. Schools and nurseries providing food like this is not a treat – it is condoning this type of food in a child’s brain and as such is very damaging to ‘the main message’.

However although it probably sounds like it, I’m not a food-puritan  – I am happy for my children to have the odd bit of chocolate – but why should it always be the nursery or school who gives it – it’s only Tuesday and my kids have already had way too much chocolate than is good for them this week from school and nursery respectively.

Why should I not be the one able to spoil them on Sunday, once they have been taught at their various schools and nurseries what it is all about. The trouble is, if treats happen every day they become the norm and so not only lose their treat value, but also make our kids fat, spotty, moody, ill and sluggish.

Surely, it should be a parent’s prerogative to ‘treat’ their child if, when and how they choose – the fact that everyone else now feels this is the part of the festival to highlight means that by the time many parents get their turn, the kids should not be having those treats as it will be completely over-doing it.

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5 Responses to “Stop Press: Easter is a RELIGIOUS festival… oh & btw so is Christmas”

  1. lucy sampson March 26, 2013 at 8:41 pm #

    I could of written this! If only I were so articulate 🙂

    • emilymanson March 26, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

      Aw thanks – I asked Josh and Ellie what Easter was about tonight… Josh said: “we eat lots of chocolate.”, Ellie said: “I don’t know. I want the lamb basket in Sainsbury’s”.
      Incidentally to add salt to the wound, I saw a nursery teacher in the supermarket buying 30 mini Lindt chocolate eggs this morning “for her class” as she explained. Was that really necessary?
      I’m sick of it. Glad you feel the same though & that I’m not just turning puritanical as part of my mid-life crisis!

  2. Jon-Erik Stubbings March 26, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

    I totally agree with you about the commercialisation of all these festivals – nasty, tacky, junk food and excessive packaging orientated – all in the name of profit and economic growth – the only god that today’s politicians really believe in. But there is a flip side to your argument – our girls go to a Church of England school where there are no lack of reminders that Easter is a religious festival – in fact when Maya was in Reception she was scared half to death by an over enthusiastic vicar’s graphic description of the crucifixion. Of course kids should know about what Christmas and Easter really mean – and by rights that should include the fact that Christianity appropriated pagan elements of the Solstice and the Springtime celebration of fertility and new life. So the bunnies and the eggs etc. actually pre-date the cross really (though not the chocolate I’ll grant you).

    • emilymanson March 26, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

      That does sound extreme – clearly we need some kind of moderation in terms of not giving kids nightmares & drip-feeding information as they become old enough to assimilate the facts rather than just being petrified by them. Sounds like an instance of a rather insensitive vicar rather than a total flipside to the argument if you ask me, but I take the point.

  3. Jacko March 27, 2013 at 12:56 am #

    Really interesting on so many levels. Presumably schools focus on the commercial because not all the children will be Christians. But then there’s an issue with that, because non-Christians should surely have the option to choose for their children not to celebrate Christian festivals (with or without chocolate). Then again, if everyone celebrates every festival, we’ll all end up with the same religion. Which would solve a lot of problems.

    And also, I’m not being funny, but, atheists. I think they might be the main problem here, wanting the cute chocolate but not the actual God part. Not to mention giving excessive chocolate to other people’s children without a by-your-leave.

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