Monday, March 29, 2004

More on Easter Eggs

Posting about Easter eggs has given me cause to ponder the appropriateness of various traditions. I have encountered various Christian arguments or prejudices against such traditions as decorating Easter eggs, hanging up holly and evergreens for Christmas, etc., because they are associated with this or that pagan holiday.

I have no reason to doubt the historicity of their claims. But I do doubt that they follow. After all, pagan does not necessarily mean demonic. A lot of things pagans did simply because they were the natural, human thing to do. It's natural to hang up holly and evergreens inside in the winter, because there's nothing else outside to decorate with. (I don't see anyone banning flower arrangements, but no doubt flowers are associated with evil pagan rites, too.) It's natural to use eggs in a spring holiday, because anybody with chickens has a lot of eggs in the spring. And why not decorate them, when they have that cool blank canvas of a shell just waiting to be decorated?

I can see this being in the meat-offered-to-idols category, where if someone was lured back into some pagan observance by their Christian friends doing something similar it would be a problem, but I really can't see anyone in modern America being drawn back into worshipping the fertility goddess by dyeing eggs. The association just isn't there any more. (They're much more likely to be drawn into it by researching healthy living, relaxation and natural childbirth, but that doesn't mean those things are wrong, either--just that we always have to watch our step.)

This of course is utterly separate and distinct from the question of whether one's traditions associated with a particular religious holiday reinforce pondering the true significance of the holiday, merely add to the festivity and anticipation, or become a distracting encumbrance. That's a judgment call that can only be answered by the people participating.

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