Today, as my niece, nephew, and their two friends scurried around the house and yard with their baskets looking for eggs, their grandmother glanced towards them and asked: “What’s the point of Easter? Chocolate?” She was serious.
I responded that Easter was about Al-Maseeh*, his crucifixion on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Monday.
She looked me dead in the eye: “Are you kidding?”
“So what are the rabbits, eggs, and chocolate for?” Understand that most Muslims are very familiar with the story of Christ’s crucufixion and resurrection, so this chocolate thing comes as a total shock. So here I am explaining the roots of a pagan holiday, the Christian elements, and the commercializations of the holiday.
“Well, that’s strange.” Her response.
Me: “Is it really? Haven’t Muslims commercialized some very important holidays. Ahem! Ramadan?” In the Middle East, Ramadan has turned into a capitalist’s and glutton’s wet dream. Over-priced food and knick-knacks and…well, food. Every-fucken-where. Glory be to Allah and these dumplings!
When we first came to Canada in the 1990s, my dad legit thought Easter was a special holiday dedicated to rabbits and chicks. And Thanksgiving was for turkeys. There was confusion as to whether Canada had some zoolatry traditions.
Our parents didn’t believe in the egg hunts. It was confusing enough that the holiday was Christian, the cultural aspects of the hunt made even less sense to them. Yeah, they bought us chocolate bunnies, but we never searched for the eggs. So, as adults, feeling we missed out on some of these cultural traditions, we decided to have the younger generation born here partake.
It’s fun. And at the end of the day, our parents realized there was no threat to their cultures and traditions they brought with them. In fact, their children, us, are adding to them.
Besides, I’ve realized all these holidays have one thing in common, whether Christian, Muslim, Martian, and that’s food. People fucken love food and we’ll find any reason to scarf it down.
*One of Christ’s names in Arabic.