Ask a Dilettante – It’s Easter, Bunny

I am confused about all the controversy surrounding the big chocolate Jesus. It seems to be a logical way to combine at least a couple of the disparate elements of the holiday that have always been particularly confusing to me (a giant egg-laying rabbit who bestows chocolate eggs to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus). So what’s the deal?

There are many questions regarding the Bunny-Candy-Jesus triangle. Does the Easter Bunny hang out with Santa? Probably not since they live in really different climates – Santa at the North Pole and the Easter Bunny in a verdant meadow somewhere warm. We know that elves make the toys that Santa brings – does Jesus make the candy that the Easter Bunny brings? Why is it that parents are so blasé about oddly-dressed strangers sneaking into the house in the middle of the night and leaving presents and candy on Christmas and Easter, yet we can’t eat the cookies made by our quiet next-door neighbor who spends his evenings talking to his dog in the garage? Does anyone truly like the taste of Peeps? And are they biodegradable?

Candy is really delicious, with the exception of Peeps, so most people think it’s best not to say anything for fear it might muck up the whole operation. Then you get older, and the Easter Bunny doesn’t come around as much, and you figure what the hell. Let’s talk about it.

So those long-haired pagans marked the beginning of spring with many symbols of life, renewal and fertility. Eggs (from chickens) and bunnies (from other bunnies) were a big part of the festivities. When Christianity came along, the new religion incorporated existing traditions into their own celebrations (it’s a lot of work planning a one-time party, much less laying the groundwork for holidays that are to be celebrated in the same way every year for centuries). Boom – eggs, bunnies, Jesus. As far as the candy goes, I think it’s just an easy way to get the kids interested.

Regarding the banned chocolate Jesus sculpture (which is called My Sweet Lord – seems the more obvious choice would have been Chocolate Jesus) one has to wonder if most of the controversy surrounds the sculpture’s, uh, twig and berries. Almost every news story about this issue mentioned that Jesus was depicted sans loin cloth. Since chocolate Jesus candy has been around for years with little or no known controversy, that little (or big?) detail has to be the difference. If the sculptor/chocolatier had chosen to put some clothes on his statue or do the Ken doll action of this candy, perhaps everything would have been okay.

The real question, of course, is where do you start eating a chocolate Jesus? It would be rude to bite the head off. You can’t start in the middle because the whole thing would fall apart. The only real option is to begin at the toes. It’s the polite thing to do. Just make sure you don’t savor the naughty bits too much.

[This column originally appeared in its entirety on Houstonist.]

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