Chavez Google doodle draws ire on Easter


A screengrab of Google's Chavez doodle from Easter Sunday on March 31, 2013.



Google marked Easter Sunday with an unexpected image this year: a doodle commemorating the late Cesar Chavez.

That prompted quite a few indignant web users to voice complaints on social media, asking, "Where are the Easter eggs? The chocolate bunnies?" 

But the selection had good reason. In addition to being the Christian holiday marking Jesus' resurrection, March 31 also would have been Latino labor icon Chavez's 86th birthday. Regardless, some on Twitter found fault with the search engine's choice of artwork on a holiday so central to Christian faith.

More from GlobalPost: Hugo Chavez and Cesar Chavez are not the same person

There were wisecracks, too:

But some also took to social media to praise and support Google's unconventional choice. (However, a few confused the labor leader with Venezuela's late leader, Hugo Chavez. And it's not the first time the two have been confused.)

"Bravo Google for honoring Cesar, a man of faith and peace on this Easter Sunday," tweeted Mexican Heritage

When asked for comment on the controversy, a Google spokesperson told BuzzFeed:

“We enjoy celebrating holidays at Google but, as you may imagine, it’s difficult for us to choose which events to highlight on our site. Sometimes for a given date we feature an historical event or influential figure that we haven’t in the past.”

It appears that Google has only once honored the Christian holiday with a doodle, in 2000

Google offers an explanation of how it chooses its doodles.  

"A group of Googlers get together regularly to brainstorm and decide which events will be celebrated with a doodle. The ideas for the doodles come from numerous sources including Googlers and Google users. The doodle selection process aims to celebrate interesting events and anniversaries that reflect Google's personality and love for innovation."

For many Americans, Chavez, who died in 1993, is an inspirational civil rights activist for his work as head of the United Farm Workers union (UFW). In 2011, the same year President Barack Obama declared March 31 to be Cesar Chavez Day, UFW headquarters and Chavez's home were added to the National Register of Historic Places.

As the National Park Service writes:

Chavez is "widely recognized as the most important Latino leader in the United States during the twentieth century," as he "led farm workers and supporters in the establishment of the country's first permanent agricultural union." 

In 2012, Obama dedicated a national monument to Chavez in California's San Joaquin Valley.