With Pope Benedict in town, and all the fuss that comes with visiting dignitaries (Ad Age's offices are a couple of blocks from the U.N., so I won't be having my usual greasy Friday cheesesteak sandwich because the deli I go to is in a security zone), I'm reminded why sometimes being just slightly out of the mainstream is not a bad thing.
Don't get me wrong -- I'm a white male in his late 30's, so it's not like marketers are having a tough time trying to target me. But I do happen to be Greek and an Orthodox Christian. While we (meaning Greeks, not happy-go-lucky Nielsen demos) have all the makings of being perfectly assimilated, and we finally got this Christmas thing sorted out (Dec. 25, just like y'all), Easter is a different story. Pope Benny has decided to come to New York on the eve of our Holy Week -- Palm Sunday is this Sunday. And all the talk of the world's Christians, and Catholics in particular, this weekend will completely fail to mention the millions of Orthodox Christians who, because of something having to do with a lunar calendar and Passover (I'm a bit fuzzy on the details, my altar boy days far in the rearview mirror), are celebrating Easter way later than everyone else did.
And this has its advantages. We can actually celebrate a religious holiday without the accompanying secularism that goes with weekend sales. No one is trying to pitch me anything, accept for local grocers in Astoria, Queens, who have a selection of whole lambs ready for the spit for our Easter meal. The circulars won't be trying to lure us into stores this weekend with extra-special savings.
Actually, that's not entirely true. For us Orthodox, most stores are kind enough to discount Easter chocolate and candy 50%! Take that, you other Christians!