Easter is an event of many faces.
For professionals, it is a time they get real rest from the hectic first quarter of the year.
Those in Zimbabwe have gotten a double dosage as this year’s holidays have coincided with the national Independence Day, generously offering a six-day window to rest.
The Christian festival and holidays has roots in Jesus Christ`s resurrection, but it appears there is the thinning of the religious element with each passing year.
It appears Christians have lost grip on the few days for commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Instead of being the proverbial day of introspection for many to see if they are living in the ways of the Lord, it has turned into a convenient few days of revelling for others.
Supermarkets over the past few days were packed with people laying up for opulent indulgence over the Easter holiday.
Retailers have been capitalising on these holidays too, “Easter Specials” becoming a catchphrase to clear out stocks in their warehouses.
Despite the defiling of the concept for money, Christians believe the sanctity of the holidays is still intact despite the commercial imperative.
Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe secretary-general Bishop Blessing Makwara said while others are free to choose how to purpose the day, true believers still maintain its purpose.
“One cannot stop those who use similar days as business days,” he said. “It is their right and their choice. As Christians we never stopped these days sacred. We continue to gather and worship our maker.”
Bishop Makwara argued that if the teachings are lucid and consistent, people will remain aware of the significance of the day.
“Teachers continue to educate and raise awareness on the congregation not to become corrupted by commercial ventures, but hold on to the significance of each holiday in fear and reverence of the Lord Jesus Christ,” he said.
Pastor Ryan Kutyauripo of the Redeemed Christian Church of God bemoaned the hijacking of a noble narrative.
“People are deviating from our true Christian values for financial gain,” he said. “Take, for instance, in this season, we are supposed to be celebrating the Passover lamb, Jesus Christ Christ and his sacrifice for us on the Cross of Calvary, many people including some Christians would rather concentrate on Easter eggs than taking holy communion with fellow brethren at Church.”
According to him, Christian dates should be exclusively set aside for activities that represent the best Christian values.
“Others see it as the most fruitful time for business endeavours while others suddenly remember trips to travel,” said Pastor Kutyauripo. “Our focus really needs redirecting. Christian holidays must be centred on Christ alone.”
Christian writer Riley Clifton questions if the holidays are still maintaining their true essence.
“Like many religious holidays, Easter is taken over by commercialism. A holiday that was initially created to celebrate Christ is now racking in an abundance of money.
“This spring, each person is expected to spend $151 on Easter, totalling up to $18,1 billion spent on the holiday alone,” he said. “Even those who don’t plan on celebrating the holiday contribute to the spending.
“In fact, according to the Easter Data Centre, 48 percent of those not celebrating still plan to take advantage of the seasonal sales.”
As capitalism keeps growing globally, it has brought with it an element of appropriation.
Religious purists are not amused that events like Christian Easter and the Muslim Ramadan have fallen prey to those seeking to exploit religious numbers for profit.
It will take a lot of work for religions to reclaim some of their special days and Easter is part of the list.