Easter Defies Madison Avenue

Religious holiday's originis too wild to tame into commercialism
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 23, 2008 8:00 AM CDT
A young girl admires a tree decorated with 9,000 Easter eggs in the garden of Christa and Volker Kraft in Saalfeld, eastern Germany, Sunday, March 16, 2008.    (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
camera-icon View 4 more images

(Newser) – Christmas’ religious meaning is lost in a sea of advertising, parties, and major retail dollars, but Easter has resisted becoming a “consumerist nightmare”—and that’s because its Christian origins demand serious thought, writes James Martin in Slate. While “the Christmas story is easily reduced to pablum,” Easter’s story of crucifixion and resurrection is “relentlessly disconcerting,” Martin observes.

Belief in the spring holiday “demands a ‘yes’ or ‘no’”--unlike Christmas, whose innocuous tale of babies and gifts can handle a “whatever," notes Martin. While anyone can happily open a card picturing a baby in a manger, “the image of a man being stripped, beaten, and tortured” isn’t such a welcome piece of mail. “Despite the eggs, the baskets, and the bunnies,” Martin writes, Easter is a holiday Madison Avenue can’t tame.