This year, Good Friday does not happen til 15 April. However, given that the holiday calendar is geared around maximising retail sale volumes, Hot Cross Buns and other Easter related matters appeared in my local supermarket even before the New Year.
I am not sure whether they appeared on Boxing Day, but believe me, by New Year’s Eve, the Hot Cross Buns were already in store.
This does not really surprise me. Christmas decorations and carols started appearing in the local shopping mall (in my case, Highpoint West) just after Halloween, not too long into my 13 week staycation.
You might think, from the prolonged emphasis on Christian festivals, that we live in a society of heightened religious fervour.
The opposite however is the truth, and probably for the simple reason that we have mostly forgotten the significant of our religion, and whatever was our connection to it, but have retained the desire to celebrate it.
The cornucopia of plenty that we enjoy in our modern post-industrial civilisation means that we have, for the most part, the wealth and the leisure to celebrate for just about any occasion, and to prolong those celebrations. [I expect sociologist Max Weber, who wrote The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, would have had much to say about our capacity and need to celebrate for prolonged periods, but as he has been dead for about a hundred years, I am just name dropping him to show how well read I am.]
After all, Santa Claus is some sort of modern distortion, developed mostly by Coca Cola’s marketing department a century or more ago, of Germanic medieval Christmas traditions. South Park are totally right when they ridicule modern Christmas traditions by having Jesus and Santa either confront or help each other.
And now we have the ultimate in marketing travesties around Easter. That is, the creation of Hot Cross Buns with Vegemite in them. Which were in the supermarkets immediately after Christmas.
For those who might read my blog and are not Australian, Vegemite is a very typical Australian savoury spread people put on their toast. It is made from a yeast extract, normally left over from beer production (we Australians do love our beer, so there is plenty of left over yeast byproducts which can be recycled into Vegemite). It is very much an acquired taste.
When you look at how insanely the meaning of Easter has been twisted in the name of commercialism, this is not surprising. What does an Easter Bunny and all that chocolate have to do with the voluntary death (in a literally excruciating manner) and subsequent resurrection of our Saviour? And what does entitlement does a Bilby (an endangered Australian marsupial) have to replace the Easter Bunny here in such observances? And now we have Vegemite on Hot Cross Buns?!?
Anyway, my brother says that they taste great, so I might try one tomorrow when I head over to sponge breakfast at my mother’s home.