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A psychedelic holiday
March 29, 2010
by Ivan Raconteur

No one is going to convince me that there isn’t something funny about Easter.

I refer not to the religious aspect of the day, but to the popular customs that surround it.

On the surface, it might appear to be just a warm and fuzzy little holiday to brighten up the end of a long winter and welcome the beginning of spring.

If we stop to think about it, though, we can see that there is a bizarre and disturbing side to things.

For example, what is up with this mythical rabbit that goes around delivering baskets of eggs and candy to kids? Not just any candy, mind you, but chocolate rabbits, knowing full well that the first thing the little scamps are going to do is bite their sweet little bunny heads off. It’s a step away from rabbit cannibalism.

The whole rabbits and eggs connection is troubling, as well.

It has been a long time since I sat in a biology class.

Biology was never my strongest subject. I only took the class so I could spend time hanging out in the lab and studying with a girl who was both hot and smart. There was something strangely appealing about a girl who was interested in biology.

Despite my ulterior motives, even I managed to learn that rabbits are mammals and do not lay eggs.

What sort of a confusing message does this image send to the kiddies?

It seems to me there is something sinister about the symbolism of the rabbit.

I am reminded of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” and “Through the Looking Glass.” The images in those volumes are enough to give one the heebie-jeebies, and make one want to avoid rabbit holes at all cost.

I don’t know much about the personal habits of Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), and I would not like to cast any aspersions about his character, but if his writing is any indication, he was a loopy old cove.

The song, “White Rabbit,” popularized by Grace Slick and the Jefferson Airplane, which relies on images from Carroll’s work, is another case that suggests that there is something that is not quite right about the rabbit symbol, and clearly introduces a drug theme to the mix.

Another scary example of the symbol is the killer rabbit of Caerbannog, which was prominently featured in the film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” There was nothing warm and fuzzy about that bunny.

The killer rabbit has nothing to do with Easter, but supports the idea that rabbits are not always what they seem.

Scholars say the Easter rabbit, as a symbol, has been around since the days when people began celebrating the pagan festival of Eastre (or Eostre), but it didn’t catch on in this country until about the time of the Civil War. The old Anglo-Saxons paid tribute to Eostre, the goddess of spring, by celebrating her earthly symbol, the rabbit.

That all seems plausible enough, but I still say the modern version of the egg-laying, fuzzy, pastel-colored giant easter bunny is the product of a chemically-enhanced mind.

Another bizarre element that signals the coming of the Easter season is those horrific marshmallow baby chickens that have attained some sort of cult following over the years.

I am sure they, like some of the more traditional icons, are supposed to symbolize new life, but as far as I am concerned, they are just plain nasty.

That brings us to the custom of decorating, hiding, and hunting for loads of multi-colored chickens’ eggs. If that isn’t the product of some Haight-Ashbury acid trip, I don’t know what is.

Scholarly types say that the custom of exchanging eggs in the springtime as a symbol of rebirth and fertility has been around for many centuries. Still, I can’t help but I wonder if our ancestors didn’t stumble upon some funny mushrooms or something when they came up with that one.

The traditions regarding the decorating of eggs vary from country to country. Some of the customs are quite artistic, and the results are beautiful, but I still question the sobriety of whoever came up with the idea.

Even today, it is not uncommon for people to get a touch of cabin fever toward the end of a long winter, and it must have been even worse a few hundred years ago.

Imagine the scene. A couple of guys are sitting around at the kitchen table, passing the time late one winter.

One of them comes up with the idea that they should go to the icebox, get some eggs, and boil them with some plants or dyes in order to be able to sit around and look at all the pretty colors.

It just doesn’t add up unless there is some other influence involved.

However they came about, there is no question that the traditions surrounding Easter add some color to a dreary season, and, one hopes, provide a preview of changes that are getting closer every day.