The Spring holiday used to be simple enough: you'd dig the old druidic robes out of the closet, schlep down to the local ring of giant stones to watch a virgin get stabbed in the heart, and then head home for some celebratory brews and maybe a round of Halo 2 with the guys.
But, as usual, Jesus eventually came along and ruined everyone's good time. A few sermons and a crucifixion later, and your sacrifice is replaced with a resurrection, your slavering frenzy is replaced with seething guilt, and your robe is-well, actually, the robe's pretty much stayed the same. Somehow, an egg-laying rabbit also made the scene, presumably because the Son of God just can't hold a child's attention like a brightly-colored egg, plastic grass, or foil-wrapped chocolate currency. And if you're like thousands of Americans, you've been left to pick up the shattered pieces of what was once a simple fertility celebration/blood orgy.
Burning questions crowd your mind: To paint and hide eggs, or read bible verses? To pray as a family, or rip a goat to pieces with your bare hands? These profiles-and a short quiz on the next page-will hopefully provide the guidance you so desperately need as someone who's convictions are feeble enough to be influenced by a faceless board of website writers.
What It Celebrates: Eostara, a goddess so fertile, she once conceived a child after merely sharing lip gloss with a girlfriend who had given a guy head in the bathroom of a club the night before. Despite regularly downing handfuls of RU486, several attempted manual abortions, and double-fisting jaegermeister throughout the course of the pregnancy, she eventually gave birth to sextuplets who were themselves pregnant.
How You Celebrate: Eostara needs virgin blood, and lots of it. We don't know what she's going to do with it, but by God, if you want your corn to come in next season, you will tie a virgin to a rock and stab her with a goat's horn. But it's not all horror: there are orgies aplenty, not to mention the quiet, solemn dignity of running naked and frenzied through a field of wheat.
Symbols: Druids, henges of various makes, the equinox, statues of pregnant chicks, ale in big metal tankards, staff wielding, a True Neutral alignment.
Pros: A year of renewed vigor, good harvests, spiritual blah blah blah. Did I mention the orgies?
Cons: Brutal human sacrifices, stubborn grass stains, hard to tell when you're mounting a dude when everyone is drunk as hell and in identical robes.
What It Celebrates: When Jesus Christ, Son of God, rose from the dead following his crucifixion and vanished from within a cave whose entrance was covered by a large stone. Impressive, but one must consider that David Blaine performed a similar feat in 2004, vanishing out of a sealed, snake-filled coffin buried in cement after a month of podcasting from within it, and he barely rated a mention on Entertainment Tonight!
How You Celebrate: Though few from outside so-called "Christ-ian" communities have ever witnessed such a celebration, it is rumored that participants take human sacrifice to a grisly extreme, actually devouring the flesh and blood of their own savior. Then they sing hymns, which are traditionally interrupted by Christ bursting Alien-style from the chest of a parishioner and yelling "Tah-dah!" It's said that, should Jesus see his shadow, he will burrow back into the lucky Christian's chest cavity for a few millennia, thereby delaying Armageddon.
Symbols: Shrouds, crosses, a boundless sense of moral superiority.
Pros: Everlasting salvation, a home in God, church babes, two dollar canoe for sale in church bulletin only has moderate termite damage.
Cons: Most of the cooler stuff described in the "How You Celebrate" section doesn't really happen.
What It Celebrates: The Easter Bunny, an oviparous rabbit dextrous enough to carry baskets of candy and intelligent enough to arrange said candy in fake grass, as well as launch massive nation-wide marketing campaigns aimed at getting parents to shell out for chocolate bunnies that turn out to be hollow and chocolate eggs stuffed with carcinogenic sludge. Possibly an ancient deity or demi-God, but far more likely the result of government genetic experiments or the demented offspring of a chicken, a rabbit, and a Cadbury company executive.
How You Celebrate: Buy, buy, buy. Screw virgin blood, the Easter Bunny wants cash. The bigger the basket you buy your child, the more clearly they will feel your love as it courses, in sugar form, throughout their fragile, developing systems. Light-headed and giddy with your love, you then lead the tykes out into the yard to hunt for the hidden, multicolored abortive offspring of a rabbit, thus perfectly depicting the mystical growth cycle of all living things.
Symbols: Garish pastels, headless chocolate rabbits, unwanted visiting relatives.
Pros: When the kids finally crash, they go down hard, hopefully buying you and the wife enough privacy for a real "celebration of fertility."
Cons: Peeps, black licorice jelly beans.
Still not sure which to worship? Click to the next page for our handy quiz!