Easter - nothing but an overly cute non-event here, pic: theholidayspot.com

Easter is almost upon us and here is the surprising news: it is an almost complete non-event in the US.  This country – by all standards – is very religious compared to other industrialized Western nations.  There is ample Gallup data to back this claim up, here is one set that shows that many of the poorest nations are also the most religious – with the Americans bucking the trend (to be fair, the Italians and Greek buck right along).

A second data point: Christianity is still the most prevalent religion with about 3/4 of the population saying they are Christians.

Even more surprising is it to me then, that Easter, this most central and important of all Christian holidays, isn’t much more than a footnote in the typical American calendar.  While the German kids  – little atheists that they mainly are – get 2 weeks of Easter vacation the American kids get nothing, nada, zilch.   Good Friday is off for pretty much everybody in Germany as well as Easter Monday – a concept unknown to Americans.  While the Spanish celebrate Semana Santa with amazing dedication and effort, mid-nightly processions and masses all odd hours of the day and the Germans dye insane numbers of eggs – here you get a flyer from Big Lots with a special on plastic eggs, 2 packages for $1.50.

I really don’t quite get it, Christmas gets celebrated with all the pomp and expenses imaginable and Easter barely happens.  I don’t get it until I let my cynical side out: somehow Easter can’t be commercialized so easily.  Maybe people have become rich selling chocolate eggs and special colors to paint Easter eggs but not very many and so by and large Easter is a very non-commercial holiday.  It is among other things about death, salvation, and hope – and not about new flat screen TVs.  As such, it does not seem to rank very high in the hierarchy of holidays in this very religious country.

Too bad, it was always my favorite and today I am going to dye my eggs the old fashioned way – like grandma Zita used to.

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