It’s all about consolidation. A goddess and a Hare. A hare and eggs. Folklore and reality. Past and present. Tradition and commercialization. Eggs, Easter, and Ethics.
The eggs-in-a-basket bearing Hare hops his way from door to door, distributing his gifts to all deserving children – or so goes the German folklore. Each basket carried tangible goods purposed to bring joy to its recipients. Children assembled their nests and if deemed ‘good,’ they’d expect colorful eggs from the Easter Hare. It’s a fun tale with an interesting origin. Eostre, the pagan goddess of spring and fertility from which we derive the name “Easter,” was symbolically manifested into an iconic hare – an animal known for its large litter production. Eggs were also commonly associated with rebirth. Just as spring revived nature from its winter slumber, so the egg hatches and yields new life. Thus, the hare and eggs were consolidated into the epitome of Easter traditions.
How did we deviate from this to the point of chocolate bunny marketing campaigns? It’s to no surprise that mass production of chocolate bunnies and the birth of the holiday’s commercialization came around World War II. With increases in demand and advancements in technology, the candy business and its affiliation to Easter also grew into what it is today:
- It’s 90 million chocolate bunnies each year
- It’s 16 billion jellybeans
- It’s $1.9 billion total annual spending on Easter candy in 2000 that grew to $2.1 billion as of 2014
- It’s 120 million pounds of candy
Here at All Across Africa, we propose a reconciliation of the lost sentiment of tradition with our modern Easter practices. Rather than Easter being the modern-day story of candy sales, let’s tell a new Easter story about purposeful purchasing.
A way to redefine Easter is the basket our Peter Cotton Tail carries his sweet treats in. Let’s change these baskets to baskets that change lives. A basket whose purchase gives back, forward, and beyond.
It is customary in East African society for the women to learn the art of weaving, and so it is passed on from generation to generation masterfully – much like the oral preservation of our German folklore. As the artisans of these baskets share their traditions through beautiful baskets, they’re also generating a new life for themselves.
In East Africa, these artisans do not have a lot of job opportunities that will pay them a fair wage, meaning much of their joy comes from producing a product that they can look at with pride. The artisans making All Across Africa’s baskets not only have pride in their work, but this sustainable income gives them a new quality of life. Their lives are impacted immediately, but it doesn’t just stop with the individual. Job opportunities create sustainable means for these individuals to improve the health of the entire village economy, meaning one Easter basket can not only give back, but also forward and beyond.
Let the hare fill our children’s baskets to the brim, but let’s also remember that baskets can fill an artisan’s hope to the brim this Easter season.