*** “Do the gods of different nations talk to each other?...Is there some annual get-together where they compare each other's worshippers? Mine will bow their faces to the floor and trace woodgrain lines for me, says one. Mine will sacrifice animals, says another. Mine will kill anyone who insults me, says a third. Here is the question I think of most often: "Are there any who can honestly boast, My worshippers obey my good laws, and treat each other kindly, and live simple generous lives?” Orson Scott Card, "Children of the Mind."
*** I was at 3 different Easter…get-togethers(?) Easter weekend but I never saw an actual chicken egg at any of them. It seems that plastic "eggs" filled with small toys, candy, and fast-food gift-certificates are more popular and have mostly replaced hunting for "real" eggs. I also didn't hear as often this year that old charge that Easter is merely a 'myth' and that Christianity shamefully mis-appropriated various Spring/fertility gods and 'pagan' rituals into the church tradition and transformed them into what we use to call Easter. For those of us lucky/oppressed enough to have been raised in the Italian/Catholic tradition I can recall growing up with Easter celebrations at Saint Angelus Merci, similar to those in New York, Sicily, Mexico, Spain, and that still occur in much of the Latin world. One of my favorites that I always wanted to attend is the 24 hour "Mysteries of Trapani" procession close to my family's home town of Bagheria. There are 20 religious groups each representing moments in Jesus life and death reenacting 20 mysteries. The guild of butchers constructs and raises the cross, the bakers guild crowns Christ with thorns, the fishers wash Jesus feet, and so on. In Palermo where many other of my people hail from, they add two pilgrims masked like devils in the yellow and red of death wander the streets during their procession and hassle passers-by and try to prevent the 2 statues of Jesus and Mary from meeting each other. Eventually the devils are foiled though and the Virgin and Jesus meet and "vasa vasa," (kiss kiss). I reckon I will leave it the theological experts to determine how much of these celebrations are the result/fault of 'Pagan' influences.
Many usamericans however, have understandably jettisoned most of these out-dated and perhaps even idolatrous traditions and replaced them with something called an "Egg Scramble." Petroleum-based Plastic ovals from China are hidden all over a local park or football field. Kids are lined up. A starter pistol is fired. The parents all yell "GO!" And the kids scramble to get the most eggs/prizes that they possibly can. Of course there are only so many eggs to go around so the fastest and most assertive kids get more eggs than the slower, smaller, less agile, less whatever kids. No coddling the losers though and parents must keep their distance, so this contest also offers the kids a kind of life-lesson about how the real world works. The pre-literate kids always seem a little disappointed though when they finally open their plastic shell and there is just a pice of paper in it. But they do get the chance to learn something about delay of gratification and the complexities of non-fungilble currency trading. Compared to the "egg scramble," tie-dyed chicken eggs and glo in the dark peeps seem like fading orthodox traditions! Blessings and Obliged.