OPINION: The problem with commercializing Easter

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It’s that time of year again. Activities such as eating chocolate, dying Easter eggs, shopping for sales and waiting for the Easter Bunny’s arrival occupy our minds from Palm Sunday to Easter.

While all these activities are good-natured ways of celebrating Easter and celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I believe the commercialization of Easter overshadows the reasons for those traditions and Jesus’ sacrifice.

Americans bought $823 million in creme-filled eggs, chocolate rabbits and colored marshmallow chicks alone during the week before Easter in 2015, according to the USA Today segment “How much Easter candy do American’s eat?”

Easter-related spending is expected to total $17.32 billion, according to an article by John S. Kiernan on WalletHub.com titled “Easter 2016 by the numbers.”

In my opinion, the continuing commercialization of Easter has made it so that people, especially children, more often associate Easter with material gains like candy, gifts, etc., rather than spiritual gain. When that happens, doesn’t it just defeat the purpose of Easter?

I have no problem with participating in those fun Easter activities or getting candy and gifts for Easter. As a matter of fact, that was my favorite part of Easter. I believe, however, that as long as people, especially parents, take the time to educate themselves and their children about the true meaning of Easter, commercialization will never overshadow the meaning.

As a Roman Catholic who grew up in a deeply religious household, I participated in all the usual Easter activities. I even participated in Easter egg hunts at my grandparents’ house until I was 16, which I’m not even embarrassed about in the slightest. Alongside all that fun, however, came religious education, which included Easter Mass and Sunday school.

Admittedly, I never liked going to church or Sunday school as a kid, but I’m glad my parents made me. It may not have made me the perfect Christian or turned me into a saint, but it did give me a sense as to why Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was so important and why we celebrate Easter the way we do.

For example, dying Easter eggs is one of the most popular ways of celebrating Easter. Many people, however, don’t know the concept behind Easter eggs.

“In many religions, including Christianity, the egg is a symbol of life and resurrection. Anyone who has ever seen a chick hatch can clearly understand the logic behind this,” Gunther Hirschfelder, professor of cultural studies at the University of Regensburg, said in the Deutsche Welle article “Eggs, rabbits and the commercialization of Easter.”

It is facts like those that give a better understanding of Easter, and having that knowledge can help us enjoy the holiday even more.

From a secular or non-Christian perspective, it will increase your knowledge of religion in general and you will become more cultured. From a Christian perspective, it will help you gain some context as to why we celebrate Easter the way we do.

In my opinion, commercializing Easter is making us more concerned with the materialistic aspect and less concerned with the spiritual aspect.

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