Tradition is defined as:

The passing down of elements of a culture from generation to generation, especially by oral communication.

Suffocating Male Chicks

Suffocating Male Chicks

Man, if I had a nickel for every time I heard the word “tradition” around holiday time, multiplied by my days on this earth thus far, I would be rich!  Well, maybe not rich considering the cost of living and the peckish health of the Canadian dollar at this moment, but a little bit richer, monetarily speaking.  People, myself included, trot out all the standard “have to haves” when it comes time to planning the family celebration, whatever one’s religion, ethnicity and/or background and most of all TRADITION which at this time of year, some of us put in an Easter basket filled with straw, tied up up with a pink polka dot bow .

This is the way my mother used to do it.

We always have hot cross buns at breakfast.

The ham has to have pineapple and cherries on top.

Easter isn’t the same without painted chicken eggs hidden for the children to find (you know, the kind you are afraid to forget behind the sofa).

Do these “gotta haves” look familiar? We get so lost in the dogma of things having to be just as they always were, that we probably lose some of the joy that  naturally bubbles up from our very hearts when we spend special time with those we love, whether family or friend.

Really?

Does it have to be this way?

Who said so?

Was it the holiday police?

If we stopped to think for a minute, we might realize that starting a new tradition of changing it up every year can also be fun. We might understand that we are not losing out, but rather gaining the ability to be flexible, to be gay, to be spontaneous, to be trail blazers as we throw off the shackles of “doing things as they have always been done”.  And I don’t say this lightly because I was a slave to tradition, to maintaining the status quo, to trying to recapture the feelings of the past in which I would witness my mother bustling about at holiday time.

Celebrations of Years Gone By

Celebrations of Years Gone By

The Bloody Remains

The Bloody Remains

Looking back, I now know that the meal and the baskets and the Easter eggs were prepared out of love, but were not of love. The linen covered table and fancy dishes were laden with the bodies and secretions of animals murdered  in  a misguided celebration of what we like to think of as a new beginning, a rebirth. I now  imagine the ghosts of these poor animals hovering over the table as we ate and laughed and Oohed! and Aw-ed!  over delectable dishes, the brutal  taste  of which was masked by brown sugar, icing, butter, spices, herbs, raisins and brandy.

My Sisters in Frilly Dresses

My Sisters in Frilly Dresses

Coloring Easter Eggs

Coloring Easter Eggs

We reveled in our Easter best, the boys in shirts and ties and the girls in frilly dresses with the fancy tights and shiny patent leather  shoes. Our Easter baskets which were filled with  milk chocolate bunnies,  gelatin containing jelly beans  and stinky chickens’ eggs, waited patiently for us in our bedrooms.  The shells of the colored eggs had been peeled away to reveal rivulets of Easter blue, pink and green staining the jelly like  surface of the once liquid whites, reminding me of sand on a beach after a hard and fast torrent of rain.

For years, I tried desperately to recapture all of this to honor my mother and her hard work and sacrifice for us. I did it for my children, wanting to pass on the memory of love that exists in my own heart and I did it for myself. But that all slowly fell apart after becoming vegan and realizing that honoring  a tradition is more about the people than the food, the baubles and the bows, more about the process than the end result, more about all life, rather than just human life.

There is an ever present and devastating cost to our peculiar habit of hanging on to the tradition of using animals for our wants, not needs. Let’s think about the baby chicks for a moment.

The global egg industry destroys 6,000,000,000 newborn male chicks every year.

Male chicks born to egg-laying hens can not lay eggs, and are not the breed used for meat. Hatcheries separate males from females through a process known as “sexing.” Since males are worthless to the egg industry, they are disposed of like trash, either suffocated to death or ground up alive in large industrial macerators.

Dyed Chicks

And then there is the issue of little baby chicks being dyed for the Ooh! – Aww!  factor which , simply put, is totally unnecessary and harmful.

True love and peaceful tradition  can never be born of violence and disrespect. It is simply not sustainable in the long term. We become slaves to what was because we cannot face the truth about our choices. We hide in the comfort of knowing at a sub conscious level, that we did not create the traditions. Rather, we tell ourselves that we are simply following them, supposedly  out of love and respect for our ancestors. We invite emotional, psychological and physical turmoil and discord into our lives when we unwittingly exploit non human animals for our traditions and hijacked palates.

Annie’s Vegan View

This holiday season please, dear human friends of this earth:

If you are vegan,  share the word that it does not have to be and must not be this way.

If you are not vegan,  reconsider your choices.

Let us all choose Ahimsa,  the principle of nonviolence toward all living things.

May all beings be happy and free.

Anne

Save

Save

Save

Save

Share...Share on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page

6 thoughts on “Here Comes Vegan Peter Cottontail

  • March 22, 2016 at 8:24 pm
    Permalink

    The horrible things done in the name of tradition! It’s all so sad and unnecessary. By numbers, chickens are the most abused land animals on the planet. 🙁

    Reply
  • March 23, 2016 at 10:01 am
    Permalink

    Hi Murray,
    Even after I became vegan I was not aware of these atrocities – so unaware. It is only through research and communicating with other vegans and AR activists on social media and my website, that I have become more informed.
    One of the number one reasons non vegans give for continuing on their path is, “This is the way it has always been done”. I agree with you, traditions can never be used a justification for continuing to exploit animals.
    If we look into our own history, past or present, we see many examples of harm inflicted on humans
    for the sake of tradition – like female circumcision, for instance. We all denounce this practice based on its barbarity, even if there could somehow be some scientific, medical reason for continuing. Why not this respect for other species who are subject to barbaric practices on the part of humans? The short answer is that humans are presumed to have rights and other species are not. They are still viewed as commodities.
    “It’s all so sad and unnecessary.” True, so true.
    Take care,
    Anne

    Reply
  • March 27, 2016 at 2:49 pm
    Permalink

    “Was it the holiday police?”

    That made me laugh, and I’m totally gonna steal the phrase! 😉

    Oh my goodness, that video was vile. We so have to do away with the “tradition” of viewing other beings as commodities.

    Have a Happy Vegan Easter Anne, and thank you for your advocacy.

    Reply
    • March 30, 2016 at 8:23 am
      Permalink

      Hi Friend,
      Good to hear from you as always, And, Happy Belated Easter to you. Glad my little attempt at comedy made you laugh. Isn’t it ironic that of the least physically violent images and videos can be the most vile? Seeing videos like this literally makes me weep.
      I agree with you that until we stop viewing other species as commodities, we will be unable to accord to them the respect they deserve.
      Thank you for your advocacy, dear Friend. We are all in this together.
      Take care,
      Anne

      Reply
  • April 8, 2017 at 3:16 pm
    Permalink

    The traditions of Easter and Christmas are pagan In origin.When Jehovah God create Adam and Eve he gave them and the animals a plant based diet. The animals were put in humans care but because of human inperfection have been abused. I am awaiting Christ’s return when all who cause pain to animals and humans will be removed.in the meantime I keep myself clean from the traditions of men.

    Reply
    • April 9, 2017 at 10:43 am
      Permalink

      Hi Dianne,
      Welcome to my website and thank you for your considered comments. I do not know that much about organized religion, but I can certainly appreciate your perspective and viewpoint. We do celebrate Christmas and Easter in our home, but with a much more inclusive view as well as plant powered food.
      Take care,
      Anne

      Reply

Leave a Reply