Why religious festivals should be more personal

Let’s cast our minds back to the beginning of April. The weather was beautiful, blossoms were forming on trees and Theresa May decided to put her nose where it didn’t belong. Why? Because the National Trust and Cadbury were ‘airbrushing’ the Christian faith by omitting the word ‘Easter’ from their advert. May was quite simply disgusted by this.

“I’m not just a vicar’s daughter – I’m a member of the National Trust as well.”

“Easter’s very important. It’s important to me, it’s very important festival for the Christian faith for millions across the world.”

“So I think what the National Trust is doing is frankly ridiculous.”

Hang on Theresa. Where in the Bible is there a magical Easter bunny who gives chocolate eggs to lots of children? Oops I meant EASTER eggs. The world has actually gone mad and so apparently has our prime minister. For Christians, Easter is about the crucification and the resurrection of Jesus no? Not a fake commercial bunny running around with so much chocolate that by the end of Easter we’ve all put on a few stone.

Also, why now? Creme Eggs and Mini Eggs don’t contain the word ‘Easter’. So why attack Cadbury for it now when both of those were introduced in the 60s? You’re a fair few decades late Theresa.

As much as I enjoy ripping May apart, she wasn’t the only one who took offence to this obscene airbrushing of faith. It all started with the Church of England and continued with the far right finding a way to blame Muslims. Oh dear.

Theresa is right in one sense. There are millions of Christians across the world who celebrate Easter. 2.4 billion to be exact but what about the rest of us?

You may have guessed by now that I’m not religious and never have been. I was not brought up in a religious household and have always had the choice to make my own decisions on religion. For the majority of my life I was agnostic, it was only in recent years which I turned atheist. This has taken me many years of thinking and researching about it, including taking an A level in Religious Studies. Religion is something I’m interesting in but not involved in. Yet, I believe in the right for people to go through a similar process to me but decide they are religious. Freedom of choice is important; we should have the right to decide for ourselves and not be indoctrinated by anything or anyone which is some of the reason I’m against Christenings.

I do not celebrate Christmas or Easter as a religious festival. I barely celebrate Easter at all because I don’t eat much chocolate. I don’t celebrate other religious festivals either. I only celebrate Christmas as a time to see friends and family and give them gifts which I have put some thought into. For me, Christmas is now so far from the birth of Christ that I have no problem celebrating it. And FYI Jesus was actually born in summer, Christmas was a pagan festival that was hijacked by Christians because August is too close to Easter (and apparently the Easter bunny might have been pagan too!).

Christians have a right to celebrate Easter and Christmas in their own religious ways. Just as any other religion has a right to celebrate their religious festivals in this country. However, shouldn’t it become a more personal thing? Take it away from the commercialism of Christmas and Easter nowadays and make it something that truly means something to the believer. Make it about the actual meaning of the festivals rather than about a fat man who gives presents or a magical bunny who gives chocolate. Celebrate in your religious communities and families rather than forcing the rest of us to celebrate it in your way too. I didn’t go to a religious school yet was forced to go to a carol service – that makes sense right?

Religious festivals should be a celebration for the religious folk amongst their religious communities. So, Theresa can quite frankly stop getting involved. As a vicar’s daughter she can celebrate Easter as much as she likes. Cadburys and The National Trust also have a right not to include the word “Easter” in their advert. This may be a Christian country but that does not mean the Christian word should be forced upon us all.

Love thy neighbour after all. Which means don’t try to distract from the fact you’re giving Saudi Arabia weapons by complaining about ‘Easter’ not coming before ‘egg hunt’.

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