OPINION | Easter, eggless or eggsellent

I'm a bit of a fan of speculative fiction, which is sort of like science fiction but for literary snobs.

This kind of novel usually takes an historical event and says, "What if things had taken a different course...", or else looks at a scientific breakthrough and extrapolates a dire - but logical - outcome.

It can be fun to apply the same thinking to the stuff we take for granted around us.

For example, I wonder if Jesus is surprised that we celebrate his death and resurrection with mass-produced fruit buns, and chocolate eggs and rabbits?

It was probably not something a first century carpenter could have predicted (especially given chocolate hadn't made it to the Middle East), although perhaps he knew all about, given his prophetic abilities.

I won't bore you with Celtic goddesses and fertility festivals that influenced those customs, but I do like to wonder, how could it have gone differently?

If, perhaps, people had chosen a new moon or an opening flower to symbolise new life, how strange would our Easters look?

Maybe we'd be eating mooncakes and decorating our houses with blossoms, which sounds rather nice.

I think it helps us to remember that a lot of what we think of as the 'right' way to do something is in fact the result of a random preference at some point in history, or a response to a situation that no longer exists.

Like, the Town Hall clock that still strikes the hour, in case one of the passing peasants doesn't have their own smart phone that can tell you the time in any city on earth. Or failing that, a wristwatch.

Or how about saying "bless you" when someone sneezes, just in case they're showing signs the bubonic plague.

Or the insistence that Weet-Bix is a breakfast food when my sons daily prove otherwise.

We could identify these inconsistencies and redundancies all day, and speculate on their origins. But in the end, I suppose we should all eat our chocolate eggs and be glad someone didn't think Brussels sprouts best represented new life.

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