Friday, April 25, 2014

The Great American Easter Egg Hunt. British style.

Isn't it strange how America is all about the separation of Church and State - and yet massively religious? That fact struck me anew this Easter.

In Britain, Church and State are coupled in all sorts of strange ways, which means - among other things, of course - that the whole country gets a four day weekend to mark the resurrection of Christ. Including the 40% of the population who don't identify as Christian. And while everyone I know enjoys creme egg season, I'd suggest only a handful go to Church or mark it in any way other than enjoying some Bank Holiday afternoon drinking.

Over here in the land of the free, Easter is unmarked by the official calendar. And yet, the whole country goes nuts for it. By which I mean every supermarket has an aisle selling not just Easter eggs, but baskets, marshmallow chicks, cards, bonnets and all manner of Easter themed party favours. People put Easter flags (with pictures of eggs, or rabbits, or very occasionally a crucifix) outside their homes. Businesses too put Easter themed decorations up, so there are pictures of bunnies and chicks on the doors of most of the nail salons and dry cleaners in Hermosa Beach. The church behind our house was packed beyond capacity, and everyone there was in their Easter Sunday best. The Easter bunny had a photo booth set up in our local mall. And then there are the Easter egg hunts, where children run around looking for huge quantities of sugary chocolatey eggs and bunnies. Everyone with children has to get involved in some way in an Easter egg hunt. Even the White House hosts one. They are crucial.

I tried to keep my British cynicism about all this extra consumption celebration under wraps. After all, we don't want Lady P to be ridiculed by her peers for being the only baby on the block who didn't take part in an Easter egg hunt. So we set up a hunt for her.

Instead of chocolate eggs, I put bunny-shaped wholegrain crackers inside little plastic eggs. Also, because she's only just 14 months old and new to this whole 'hunt' thing, we made them really rather easy to spot.
It was not quite a Great Easter Egg Hunt. More a Small Easter Biscuit Collection exercise. Still, Lady P enjoyed it and - so far - doesn't know what she's missing out on. Long may it stay that way. I suspect in years to come, like all the other mugs, we'll be getting up early to leave 'Easter bunny tracks' in the garden, and stashing refined sugar far and wide. I'd like to put that off as long as possible.

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