A day before Good Friday (also Zimbabwe’s independence day) I got a phone call from a close family member inviting me to an Easter egg hunt at her house. She said her five-year-old daughter was so excited and had asked if I could join them.
Now these are the things that I have always had a problem with. Customs we have embraced wholesale, never asking what they mean and how they relate to us as a people.
So I decided to engage in a serious conversation with this five-year-old and the answers I got from her on what she understands by Easter left me stunned. To her, Easter is when the rabbit comes and hides Easter eggs and she and her friends have fun finding them. This worldview is so strongly cemented in her mind because that’s what the television is communicating, it’s what billboards are screaming and it’s what supermarkets are selling.
I’m sure whoever invented the Easter rabbit/egg must be laughing non-stop. Telling himself that if he can convince people that rabbits can lay eggs and the world believes him/her, then they can believe anything. And will unquestioningly join in the search for eggs that rabbits have laid. Seriously?
So businesses make money because they have found an easy marketing gimmick We buy these eggs and rabbits, perhaps to make ourselves feel we are closer to the white man’s culture? The worst part is that the custom may not even be linked to the very same religion that celebrates Easter.
It is so ironic that independence day this year was on Good Friday. Independence means many things but the most important is the mental and intellectual freedom – not just the removal of physical barriers. It’s about freeing a people from mental bondage and enabling them to define the world from their own perspective and worldview. It’s about being capacitated to question the unquestionable embrace the good in other worlds. It’s about unchaining oneself from an inferiority complex and dismantling the superiority complex of others.
Freedom is allowing oneself to move away from popular culture if you believe it has nothing to do with who you are or who you want to become. It is a mental state that allows one to boldly state who he/she is and what he/she stands for.
It is one thing, to understand a custom’s origins, buy into it, believe it and make it your own. But it’s certainly mental captivity at its worst to unquestioningly embrace a custom because everyone else is doing it.
That’s why my heart sank when a grown woman phoned me to say I must go and hunt for Easter eggs. I knew that if her daughter had suddenly asked us if indeed rabbits lay eggs, we would have no answer for her.
We would not even have an answer on how it is people have come to associate eggs with rabbits and in the same vein, the link between the birth of Jesus and Santa Claus’ sleigh being drawn by reindeers.Post published in: News