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Easter coloring pages

Easter coloring pages

easter coloring pages

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The Easter Bunny is a real basket case this time of year. Before he even delivers Easter treats, he’s hopping all over the place hiding eggs and making personal appearances. Here are a few events where you can find him, or his eggs, over the weekend. * Today * An Easter Eggstravaganza will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Latta Plantation Nature Preserve. The free event, sponsored by the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department, is for children ages 12 and younger.

It’s a common perception that we live in a post-Christian society. Sundays are more often spent honouring mammon at the out-of-town DIY superstore than God in church, and the average teenager knows roughly as much about Christianity as an Amazonian headhunter did before the arrival of the missionaries.

Indeed, try asking any British man or woman questions about religion and they are bound to give you a wide berth. You can talk about sex, money, illness and death all you like; but bring up Christianity and you’ll be regarded as a bit of a nutcase.

That’s what I had suspected, anyway. Yet not one of these universally acknowledged truths was evident when we did our – admittedly not terribly scientific – survey on Easter in the busy high street of a small provincial town.

Even if there were some gaps in knowledge, almost every one of the 100 people I spoke to understood the basics of the Easter story at the heart of the Christian message.

“Well,” as one man observed, alluding to the BBC drama series, The Passion, “it’s just been on telly this week, hasn’t it?” Which may be more perceptive than it sounds. Just because Church of England attendance figures are dropping through the floor does not necessarily mean the end of religion.

Surveys invariably find that the majority of people still believe in a God and younger generations especially may well derive much of their knowledge of Christianity not from the local church but from film and television.

Certainly our Sunday school-type quiz did not faze most people. After a moment’s furrowed brow, a dredging down to older sedimentary layers of memory, almost everybody, regardless of age or gender, knew what happened on Good Friday and Easter Day: at least 90% in both cases. Even with the more difficult questions, such as “Who was Caiaphas?”, two or three people out of every 10 got the answers right.

At the risk of straying into “don’t children say the funniest things” cutesiness, it must be admitted that some of our younger respondents came up with the more intriguing and creative answers.

In answer to the question, “What happened on Easter Day?”, Tom, 10, offered a richly syncretist and multifaith account, appearing to combine elements of Christianity, Hinduism and paganism: “Jesus was reincarnated from an egg.”

“What – a chocolate egg?” “No, of course not a chocolate egg,” he said scornfully. “Chocolate wasn’t invented then. It came over from America with potatoes and tomatoes.”

My favourite answer to “Why was it called Good Friday?” was “Because it’s the end of the week.” The most common mistake was believing that Easter Day signified Jesus’s ascension, while the vaguest answer was, “Now somebody did tell me, but I can’t remember.”

How much was Judas paid for his betrayal? “Fifty galleons” was the most lyrical suggestion, while many reckoned it was something to do with shekels. Surprisingly few recalled the traitor’s proverbial “30 pieces of silver”.

The feast of the Passover was beyond most people, with fewer than one in 10 getting it anywhere near right.

Everyone knew the name Pontius Pilate, although not all could provide a job description. One literary lady, an ardent atheist, was rather appalled to get this and several other questions right – as if she wished that she could wipe the files of a defunct religion from her hard disk for good. However, she insisted that she knew about Pontius Pilate only from reading Bulgakov’s novel, The Master and Margarita.

Among other alternative sources for Christian knowledge, Monty Python’s Life of Brian loomed large. In answer to the question, “What was the name of the prisoner released instead of Jesus?”, about a third of those surveyed immediately chorused, “Welease Woderick!” On reflection, though, they realised that this wasn’t exactly the gospel truth and most came up with the name Barabbas.

One of the strangest and most fascinating results in our survey was finding a question, and not an obvious question either, which almost everybody got right instantly. “Who first arrived at Jesus’s tomb on the morning of Easter Sunday to find it empty?” Mary Magdalene came back the answer time after time. Young and old, male and female, believers and atheists – why on earth should this be?

I asked the respondents themselves but few could explain it. They just knew. “Everyone loves a slut,” suggested one woman cheerfully.

The discovery of the empty tomb is a moment of high drama, of course: the first inkling that humanity receives that the story might not have come to its bitter end on the cross.

I asked the local vicar afterwards what he made of it. “Mary Magdalene is such a brilliant character,” he said, “much misunderstood but very vivid.” Perhaps it’s because the scene has been so often represented in art, with the Magdalene resplendent in her scarlet cloak. Then again, as the vicar observed wryly, she also plays an important role in the dreaded The Da Vinci Code.

Several people came back with questions and answers of their own, from the blasphemous – (What did the disciples say to Jesus after the resurrection? “No wonder they call you holey”) – to the frankly confusing (Why do we put tinsel on our Christmas trees? “Because on Easter morning there were spiders’ webs across the mouth of the empty tomb, frosty in the early sunlight, like tinsel”).

Also against all expectations, hardly anyone appeared to be embarrassed by the subject of our quiz. Among the very few who refused to answer the question “What happened on Easter Day?” was the man who looked furtively around and then muttered, “Who wants to know?”

I was interested in the views of a new age-type couple, with a dog that had a blue polka-dot bandanna round its neck. What happened on Easter Day, this couple believed, was that Gaia, the Earth, was ritually mocked and slain and the patriarchal sky god was raised up in her place. This would soon have to be reversed, they added, or we were all doomed.

Isn’t freedom of religion a wonderful thing?

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