Mollie Hemingway nails it here with her diatribe on the commercialization of Easter.
From Roth’s novel “Operation Shylock:”
I heard myself next praising the greatest Diasporist of all, the father of the new Diasporist movement, Irving Berlin. “People ask where I got the idea. Well, I got it listening to the radio. The radio was playing ‘Easter Parade’ and I thought, But this is Jewish genius on a par with the Ten Commandments. God gave Moses the Ten Commandments and then He gave to Irving Berlin ‘Easter Parade’ and ‘White Christmas.’ The two holidays that celebrate the divinity of Christ — the divinity that’s the very heart of the Jewish rejection of Christianity — and what does Irving Berlin brilliantly do? He de-Christs them both! Easter he turns into a fashion show and Christmas into a holiday about snow. Gone is (sic) the gore and the murder of Christ — down with the crucifix and up with the bonnet! He turns their religion into schlock. But nicely! Nicely! So nicely the goyim don’t even know what hit ’em. They love it. Everybody loves it. The Jews especially … If supplanting Jesus Christ with snow can enable my people to cozy up to Christmas, then let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Do you see my point?” I took more pride, I told them, in ‘Easter Parade’ than in the victory of the Six Day War.”
Berlin might be given too much credit (or blame) for the effort. The dress parade referenced in the movie was a tradition going back to the late 19th century and showed how Easter was marked then as a cultural rite of spring, even if it began as a way for Christians to show respect even in their dress on Easter.
No matter how it happened, it’s clear that our celebration of Easter could use some improvement. Here are a few ways to get things started.
.... People are always freaking about the commercialization of Christmas, but I only wish that we’d similarly commercialize Epiphany, Transfiguration, Annunciation, Ascension, and Pentecost, among other chief festivals of the Christian church year. The war on those holy days has been pretty effective, nearly wiping them out from public — and private — celebration.