Editorial | Issue 7
I hate Easter. Hate it. Itís not the idea of having two days off work that Iím opposed to. I am of course, totally down with that. My issue is with olí JC and his peeps. If youíre down with Christ, and like to get down with other people that like him too, then man it must be sweet to have the government ensure that you get four days off (Iím including Christmas here) to allow you to remember how nailed he got to that cross, and how totes amazed everyone was when he ďcame back to lifeĒ.
But for me, Jesus of Nazareth is just another historical figure. Heís not the messiah, Christ, son of God, or my personal lord and saviour. He was a political rebel who agitated against the powers that be, and who in the end lost his life for what he believed in. Itís a great story, and one we could probably learn some lessons from, but itís not the guiding narrative of my life.
New Zealand was founded by a Christian empire, and it makes sense that some of those Christian traditions are still around. Back in the ye olden days, it was important that the government protected your right to take a day off in order to attend the necessary masses and vigils. But in a modern multi-cultural Aoteoroa, where very few people are actively engaged in the Christian faith, it is hypocritical for the government to still attach public holidays to dates of significance for a particular religion. Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Jews, Hindus, Rastafarians, Shintos, Taoists, and plain old smelly atheists donít get a day off to do shit when their religion (or otherwise) calls for it, so why should Christians?
And itís not only the holiday for religionís sake that I have issue with. Those of us who arenít celebrating/commiserating over Jesus getting killed are forced to suffer through the deprivation of shops and service outlets being forced to shut for the day. Want to enjoy a cold beer at the end of one of your few stat holidays? I hope you stockpiled, cause youíre screwed if you think youíre buying any alcohol today mate. And then to really pile it on, everyone eats chocolate all weekend, and I am fucking lactose intolerant!
So hereís the plan. Rather than Easter and Christmas being guaranteed public holidays, everyone should get four mental health days off a year, and you can take them whenever you want. Then you decide for yourself what is best for your mental (or spiritual) health. Want to go to mass on Good Friday? Go nuts. Want to sleep on the last day of Ramadan? All yours. Want to go to a four-day musical festival and take acid? Feel free.
That way, everyone gets what he or she wants. Christians can get together on their days off and chat about Jesus, Muslims can make the most of Ramadan, and Rastafarians, well, we all know what theyíre going to get up to. And I wonít have to suffer through another chocolate-free Easter without a drink in my hand.
Ė Joe Stockman