Growing up in a conservative Christian family Easter was always one of the biggest holidays; going to church on the morning of Good Friday and again on Sunday, and demolishing my fair share of Easter eggs and hot cross buns.
Maybe growing up I was naïve, blissfully unaware of the consumer-driven world around me. As an adult, however, I’ve become acutely aware of nightclubs, bars, and even bottle shops ability to take complete advantage of the long weekend break—which is still a religious holiday—to sell insane amounts of alcohol and encourage 3-day benders.
Don’t get me wrong; I go out and party like the best of them. I’m the gin and tonic girl in my group of friends: always down for a night out—but surely to the average person Easter is about more than drinking.
Look, I get it; not everyone is going to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus, and I don’t expect them to. We’re so incredibly multicultural that it’s unrealistic to assume everyone will see things as I’ve been brought up. I guess in my mind I’ve always thought Easter was about spending time with loved ones and to go on holidays, not spend it in bed with a hangover after a bender. Apparently not everyone feels the same.
If you make it to their “Easter double header,” Raffles Hotel will “help you make it through the holiday” with a “double the party at your favourite weekly hangout”.
The Murdoch Student Guild is getting into the Easter spirit with their Easter Bunny party this weekend: “Chuck on a pair of bunny ears, or get your Hugh Hefner on, its Bunny Time”
And for all of those who just feel like getting wasted at home, my local bottle shop is “the home of grown up Easter treats.”
Are we seriously buying into this junk? Since when did Easter turn into “getting your Hugh Hefner on”? Halloween is bad enough: we don’t need another excuse for girls to dress up in lingerie and bunny ears and call it a costume. In the words of my favourite red headed Mean Girl Cady Heron “Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.” Does that mean Easter has become another excuse to sexualise animals in order to celebrate a holiday?
I’m all for girl power. If you’re feeling yourself wear what you love. It just seems like along we way we’ve lost sight of the meaning behind Easter. You don’t have to believe in the Bible or in what the holiday traditionally means to some people, but if you’re using Easter as an excuse to dress up and get hammered, I’ve gotta say: I don’t agree.
With a move towards greater acceptance of cultural diversity, we’ve been encouraged to learn more about minority groups, be sensitive of other peoples values, and be accepting of everyone no matter their beliefs, identity, and nationality. And while Easter has—like Christmas—been transformed into a celebration that is no longer exclusively religious, there’s a distinct lack of acknowledgement and respect for its significance.
This shift is also consistent with Australia’s evolving national identity, namely to that of excessive partying and heavyweight drinking. If we come to believe this image of ourselves we’re being fed—that getting pissed and having a good time is just what we do as Australians—then you better believe that’s how we’re going to spend the long weekend. Bottle shops, nightclubs, and pubs are taking advantage of our acceptance of this stereotype, only further encouraging that we drink too much at every opportunity.
It’s a long weekend. They hardly ever happen. Go out and enjoy the time off work if you’re lucky enough. Catch up with friends and family, eat too much chocolate, and have a few drinks. Just try to keep in mind that this is also a holiday that is sacred to millions of people around the world.