This Sunday is a cause for celebration. Maybe you're one of the millions of Americans who will be celebrating the anniversary of zombie Jesus Day. Maybe you're one of the millions of Americans who's more comfortably obscured by a haze of pot smoke. Either way, this Sunday is a big one.
That's right, this Sunday, two high holidays are overlapping. Christians will be sitting down around a finely dressed table to celebrate Easter, while stoners will be lounging on whatever assorted dumpster refuse they cobbled into a living room set to celebrate 420.
For those of you who aren't aware, Easter is an annual celebration where Christians get together and hoard eggs and talk about Jesus (he's kind of a big deal with them). 420, on the other hand, is an annual celebration where marijuana aficionados get lit and talk about Trey Anastasio (he's kind of like their Jesus).
To date, the controversy surrounding this overlap has been approximately zero. Christians aren't about to let someone spoil their Easter just because they're baked, and stoners aren't about to let someone destroy their 420 because they've totally forgotten that Easter was a thing.
While at first it would seem that these two holidays have virtually nothing in common, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to point out that the cult of marijuana and the cult of Jesus have more in common than either side would like to admit. Just think about it: both teams love to feel persecuted, both teams make people uncomfortable when they talk passionately about their beliefs, and both teams firmly believe in the sanctity of a Friday where you don't go to work.
Join me, won't you, as we explore the reasons why Easter and 420 should always share a calendar date.
Jesus was the original hippie
This one almost seems like a gimmie, but when did we forget that the reason for the season (or at least the long weekend) is Jesus, the world's first hippie.
Don't deny it. Just because sandals were the only option at the time doesn't take away from the fact that Jesus rocked them like they were Manolo Blahnik's. But some people seem to forget that the foundation of their whole life, the church-y parts anyway, are due to a malcontent who stood up and preached togetherness.
I don't think it's a stretch to say that these days, if a long-haired, sandal-wearing wanderer showed up in, say, the Florida panhandle, and started suggesting that people just need to try and be nicer to other people, that nomad would be run out of town quick and in a hurry, because that type of hippie nonsense will not be tolerated. Sure, Jesus gets a pass, but he's the son of God, so he's got an in. Copycats will not be suffered.
Maybe it's possible that a little overlap between a celebration of Jesus' awesomeness and a celebration involving a whole bunch of unshaven idealists might help to remind more exclusive Christians that their hero was all about inclusion and it might remind weed smokers that, when it comes down to it, Christianity is based on the teachings of an anti-establishment agitator.
Easter Egg hunts are fun again!
When you're a kid, the Easter egg hunt is, hand's down, the best part of the holiday. Forget the food my grandma used to spend hours creating. Forget the relatives who drove hundreds of miles to be with their family. Forget the extra-long church service. For me, it was all about tromping around grandma's giant front yard, basket in hand in search of hidden surprises. It probably helped that those hidden surprises were crammed with pocket change and chocolate, but still, good times were had by all.
As you get older, though, the Easter egg hunt gets downright boring. Pocket change can't buy anything important. I can go buy all the Easter candy I want without baking in the hot sun. Even grandma's yard is somehow noticeably smaller than it was when I was four.
Now, I could act like an adult and appreciate the opportunity for fellowship and spiritual affirmation. Or, I could act like the adults in my family and focus on the bounty of delicious food. If I'm being honest, though, I'd much rather just go back to the rush I felt when I stuck my hand into a disused snake hollow - what? We took pride in our hiding spots - and wrapped my little kid fingers around a plastic egg filled with 75 cents.
Well, with weed you can! I'm under legal obligation to recommend that you not recapture the joy of youth unless you're in Colorado or Washington, but if you're one of the few people lucky enough to live in those states, it's time to experience the rush just like it was the first time. And, hey, if you get high enough, it really will seem like the first time because you'll have forgotten all those other times.
Both holidays have been co-opted by big chocolate
Chocolate is the official side dish of Easter, hands down. Not really the main meal, not really the dessert, chocolate is just sort of everywhere. More than Christmas, more than Halloween, Easter is the holiday most WASPs associate with the sweet cocoa mistress. Chocolate is more of an unofficial sponsor of 420 - on an equal plane with Taco Bell and Doritos - but it's also undeniably present.
I don't really have much more to contribute than that, because I'm not upset or mad about it. Chocolate should be more prevalent in everyday life. And I never for one second believed all that "diabetes" malarkey.
Maybe I'm just taking this opportunity to point out the opportunity for synergy this would allow confections manufacturers ( you can thank me for that stroke of genius by sending samples directly to the Examiner office). Maybe I think this common treat could serve as a great starting point for the two factions - the religious and the inebriated - to start initial negotiations.
None of that's true, though. More than anything I think I just want to see a glob of chocolate molded to look like Jerry Garcia.
Both days are packed with nonsense
Hey, did you know that Easter eggs are meant to symbolize the empty tomb of Jesus? I just read that. And, no, I don't buy it either. Eggs symbolize the empty tomb of Jesus, from which he rose ... so, the eggs represent life emerging from stone? That can't be right, because it still wouldn't explain why that symbol for life is then boiled and dyed so that no life could ever possibly emerge from it.
Even if you could explain the reason that eggs are involved with Easter (and, sincerely, if you know the real answer, please tell me), you'd still have to convince me that the Easter bunny belonged in the celebration. I'm all for things that seem cute and cuddly (even though in real bunnies are vicious), but I cannot for the life of me see what a rabbit has to do with religion or resurrection or any of that Easter stuff.
On the flip side of the coin, 420 is overloaded with rituals that don't really do anything to enhance the meaning of the holiday (whatever little there is). First of all, the date itself: 100% arbitrary. Wikipedia has some reasoning behind the number, but it's as convoluted as the "eggs symbolize the tomb" argument above.
Second, and more personal to me, 420 is totally owned by really, really terrible music. I'm sure most of you are familiar with the term "jam band", but if you're not, allow me to paint you a word picture. Imagine a symphony. Now, take away the woodwinds, the brass, the reed instruments and most of the strings. Now imagine that the remaining four instruments play a decent(ish) melody for five to seven minutes. Then, they start to repeat it. And repeat it. And repeat it for, like forty minutes. That's one-tenth of a jam band show. And on 420, you cannot escape them.
Why are they there?! What possible relationship could there be between marijuana and this horrible, awful, no good, very bad music? The answer, as far as I can tell, is simply that stoned people have short attention spans and they need a form of entertainment that moves at their speed. That's still no excuse to pollute their "holiday" with such gross affronts to decent taste.
Point being, by combining the two days we might help push to the edges some of the less pertinent aspects of both holidays and - in so doing - focus wholly on the true meaning of both holidays.
At the very least, it'd mean I could get through April 20 without being force fed a hard-boiled egg or listening to four hours of The String Cheese Incident. Or Widespread Panic. Or Furthur. Really, I just hate all you guys.
Stoned or at Church, we all love food
Religious-types love food indiscriminately.
Potheads love food indiscriminately.
Sure, the cuisine of choice may differ depending on which celebration you're attending. Easter will most likely be the best place to score traditional favorites like ham and sweet potatoes and casseroles that somehow blend ingredients you never thought blendable. On the other hand, 420 revelers are, at best, more of the grill out crowd (you know, because there's less prep time and less clean up required). At worst, you might stumble upon a buffet of the closest 711's most delightful fare.
In either event, you will certainly come across a group of people looking to satisfy their cravings for calories and fat grams.
And who says you can't combine the two? Why wouldn't a bag of Funyuns be a natural complement to a slice of ham? Couldn't a deviled egg be wonderfully accented by a Slim Jim? It might not be the most natural of combinations, but isn't good food good no matter what it's sharing a plate with? And isn't good food appreciated by everyone on the planet?
We all gotta eat, why not eat together? It's not hard math, people.
Both celebrations are motivation to get outside
Okay, if I'm being honest, by the end of May, I'll most likely hate some Spring. It's increasingly hot and humid, the pollen drives my allergies bonkers, and - if you ask this guy - it's generally far too bright. Also, a little pastel goes a long way with me.
That's how I'll feel by the end of May, true, but that's weeks and weeks away from now. Right now, I'm just thrilled it's not snowing any more and that I can go outside without forty extra pounds of scarves and jackets weighing me down. I'm positively pumped about the changing seasons.
If a shut-in like me is ready to celebrate the change in the weather, you can bet pretty much everyone else is, too. Especially my wife, who is increasingly unamused by my constant, unwavering complaints about the weather. Yesterday, I saw her sharpening a knife with grave intent.
That's why any excuse to get out in the Sun is a good excuse to get out in the Sun!
The more joy we can dump on 420, the less people will remind me that April 20 was also Hitler's birthday
Hey, everybody, did you know that mass murderer and total dillhole, Adolf Hitler was born on April 20th? What? You did?! You mean to say that at least one pseudo-intellectual pedant has cheerfully informed you of this fact every single year since you went to college?
This is probably just a personal peeve, but it seems like each year, somebody thinks they're the first person to discover this little tidbit each and every year. Even more, they think it's simply remarkable that Hitler's birthday should coincide with a holiday that lauds the consumption of marijuana. Well, guess what? It's not remarkable. It's a coincidence.
It's not even really a very noteworthy coincidence come to that. It's just as relevant as the fact that the Chicago Cubs played their first game at Wrigley on April 20, 1916 or that Billie Holiday recorded the haunting civil rights anthem "Strange Fruit" on April 20, 1939 or even that the Bay of Pigs made the CIA look like total dolts on April 20, 1961.
The point is, stuff has happened on April 20th that doesn't relate to the little man from Germany. Isn't about time we stopped taking note of the birthday of a guy who's pretty much universally despised? More to the point, I move that we not just stop celebrating it, that we bury it under a pile of more meaningful recognition, like Easter, 420, and any of the literally dozens of other worthwhile events that have gone down on April 20.
Just some food for thought.
Score some points for Jesus, or engage in some rousing debate
And now for a little transitive logic! Kind of. Just bare with me.
Fact One: The biggest and best 420 celebrations across the country are held, perhaps not surprisingly, on college campuses.
Fact Two: College kids love to engage in challenging conversations, especially when they're wasted.
Fact Three: Contrary to popular belief, the mere inclusion of pot into a social situation doesn't automatically turn someone into a slobbering dummy.
Some may look at these three (blindingly obvious) facts and shudder, because they're now picturing a gathering of a thousand stoners having a thousand different conversations about how Jerry Garcia tapped into the music of the Universe. Christians, however, should see these three facts as a golden opportunity.
Any potential soldiers in God's army can look at it like this: At a 420 celebration, you have a massive captive audience who has already devoted a big block of time to dulling their faculties and sliding into a happy, relaxed state. On top of that, their drug of choice makes them predisposed to meandering, intangible conversations (it's a cliche because it's true, folks). Now, if a body was going to notch up a few souls for Yahweh, what better possible crowd could you start with than a mob of dumbed down people who are open to suggestion?
Remember, even Jesus hung around undesirables to help get the word out.
Spending time with your family can be fun
I can't be the only person who finds family gatherings a little grating. Clearly I'm not, because there's a whole Hollywood subgenre devoted to people being annoyed by their family. I happen to be among the fortunate few who isn't put off by my immediate family on a day-to-day basis (mostly because I don't talk to them on a day-to-day basis, but still …). By and large, they're intelligent, open-minded people who don't make a habit of grinding my gears. And for that, I love them.
On holidays, though, all that changes. We're all forced into uncomfortable clothing. My mom is flying around like a lawyer trying to get her client acquitted on execution day. My dad is pretending his house isn't full of half-strangers (playing Fox News at roughly the same level as a jet engine seems to help). My brother and sister-in-law are trying to wrangle the nephews. And the whole set is dressed with people I only ever see at gatherings like this.
Just because we share some chromosomes doesn't mean we have anything in common. You want proof of exactly how different we are, just cruise the Facebook comments under each of my news articles. But I digress.
The point is that holidays have a way of turning my otherwise lovely family into a pack of freaking nutjobs and the ability to combine the obligations of an Easter with the frills of a 420 … well, doesn't that just seem like a recipe for a pleasant day?
Both days celebrate gifts from God
"Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things." - Genesis 9:3
I'm 100% positive I misinterpreted that, but I'm still going to go with it.