The Rites of Spring and its Wrongs

Easter is nearly here. I don't like Easter. Never have. It's not a coherent holiday of any sort. A christian religious holiday has tried to supplant pagan and Jewish springtime holidays and the result is a pastel-shaded mess of a broken chocolate egg on a horny rabbit's head.

For centuries, the rites of spring were celebrated by nearly every culture. These celebrations were nearly all centered around the spring equinox, the return of flora and fauna and fertility.

Yeah, that's right, sex. Spring is when mother nature gets it on. As any sufferer of pollen allergies can attest to, we're getting swamped by plant ejaculate. Most ancient rituals had to do with boosting or encouraging plant fertility to bring in a good harvest, which of course was key to survival. Somewhere deep in the memory banks I also remember reading that pagans in the U.K. also had orgies to celebrate the spring equinox, but I don't remember where I read this. Planting seeds, indeed.

When the christians came along with the Jesus crucifixation commemoration, they tried to hijack not only the rituals, but the stories. Fertility gods that were born of virgins and died and reborn annually were recast with Jesus in the central role. In the early days, christianity, like the pagan religions it was competing with, had to absorb and adopt to the popular myths of the time to appeal to a mass audience. Nothing wrong with that: just read Joseph Campbell if you don't believe me.

So the bunny is a sign of fertility, the chocolate is an aphrodiasiac, the egg signifies the ancient myth that an egg could balance on it's end at the equinox (and another fertility sign), and the baskets and pastel colors are just spring time foofery. And it's all been superficially sanitized of sexual meaning for kids. But it still creeps me out.

Plus it all hits a wrong chord. Sex, death, resurrection and pastel colors don't go together. Can't we keep the sex and (sanitized love for kids) on Valentine's Day and the wedding/prom season and the death and resurrection on Halloween and Cinco de Mayo? And rabbits are fuzzy little vermin that are the enemies of gardeners, plant life and farmers. Why are we celebrating them when trees and flowers are coming back?

If spring is mainly a celebration of life returning and plants growing, why not have a blooming flower as the main symbol instead? Give each other plants and flowers for Easter? Given that Earth Day is right around the corner and the green St. Patty's day is right behind us, wouldn't this make a perfect melding of seasonally appropriate traditions to have a green holiday focused on life's resurgence? The entire gardening industry could get into the thing.

Happy Spring!


orangepips said...

The curmudgeon is dead! Long live the curmudgeon!

Bulworth said...

"plant ejaculate". Damn, The Trackball of Truth comes through again.