Published in "Mai Word, " Mai Life Magazine April 2012
Easter falls early this month and your eyes have most likely already had their fill of pictures of Easter eggs and the Easter Bunny in advertisements for the Easter Sale. This is a bonanza for the people who sit somewhere in a room coming up with names for “sales”. Why this year alone we’ve already sold ourselves on New Year’s Sale, followed very quickly by the Back to School Sale, the So-You-Lost- Everything-You-Bought-In-Our-Christmas-New Year-and-Back to School-Sale-In-The-Flood-Sale, Valentine’s Day Sale, the No-Valentine-On-Valentine’s Day Sale, the Post-Valentine’s Day-Broke Up-With-Your-Girl/Boyfriend-Sale, the Mad March Sale, and the one-off (perhaps) We’re-Going-To-Have-A-New-Constitution-and-Elections-Really-Really-Soon-For-Real Sale.
Most Jesus-freaks, like myself, do understand why the advertising people use the Easter Egg and Bunny in their selling of groceries, perfume, jewellery, clothes, furniture and hardware. Images of bleeding, tortured and dying or dead Jesus would not really make you go out and buy a number 14 chicken. But you never know unless you try. I mean, think about it, wouldn’t a big cross be the perfect image to sell hardware. “Jesus’ cross would have been lighter if he used our hardwood!” “Don’t do it the old-fashioned Roman way – try our new range of power tools. Perfect for making crosses in half the time!” “Not enough nails to crucify? No problem, try our liquid nails!” “No need to look for thorn bushes! Just grab a roll of our barbed wire – easily twisted into crowns or any other shapes to suit your need!"
Even if the pagan fertility symbolism of eggs and rabbits (think go forth and multiply – no not maths class) is lost on the general populace, bunnies are a bit out of our geographical locality. Mind you it’s probably more eye-friendly to have old bugs on an advertisement rather than the local animal options. I mean seriously an Easter Mongoose? Maybe an Easter Rooster? Then again, even if we did go with Easter poultry, how would we answer our offspring when they ask us which came first, the Easter Chicken or the Easter Egg?
I have yet to receive any complaints, however, about the Easter Egg. Unfortunately for our poultry pals from Wainadoi, the only way they can be appreciated at Easter is if they can figure out what my son would probably be asking me soon: “Dad what do they feed the hen to get it to lay marshmellow, caramel and chocolate eggs?”
Mind you I come from the generation that were given real (I mean chicken’s) eggs at Easter time. I remember painting my Easter Egg at Sunday School and proudly showing it to my parents afterwards. I also recall, rather traumatically, my disappointment when I peeled off the painted shell to find that there was no Easter miracle for me. Jesus may have been resurrected but my Saviour and bestest friend who changed water into wine had neglected to change my chicken egg into a chocolate egg. I eventually did let Him off the hook, figuring the whole being raised from the dead and breaking the bondage of sin thing may have been a more important priority, but it wasn’t easy.
I mean now there’s a great opportunity for a sale promotion if ever there was one – “He broke bonds of sin and death for you at Easter.... And we’re breaking the bonds of economic recession with our massive clearance sale!” No? Okay how about this one, “On the third day He rose again.... And for two days our prices will be the lowest possible!” No? I didn’t think so either.
Perhaps the sale-namers are really a respectful bunch of guys and dolls. After all they are really only telling us where we can get our candles, hot cross buns, eggs, and other Easter requirements at the lowest price from the friendliest staff. And they’ll also help us buy our ghee, fireworks, semolina for sewaiyan or halwa and put slash prices on everything from electric mosquito zappers to air fresheners just so you can get that special Christmas / Eid / Diwali / Battle of the Giants / Sullivan- Farebrother Trophy finals present for the one you love.
Now please excuse me. I really must dash to before the “It Rained in Suva on a Wednesday” Sale on disposable umbrellas ends, and I have to see a certain Special Administrator about a city on sale.
An award-winning former multi-media (Radio/TV/Print) producer, director, presenter and writer, now minister of the Methodist Church in Fiji – Rev. J. S.Bhagwan is a graduate of the Pacific Theological College in Fiji and is currently studying at the Graduate School of the Methodist Theological University in Seoul, Korea. He has two turbo-charged children, a patient wife and a collapsible three-legged stool.