Easter

Happy Easter

April 18, 2014

Easter is a Christian festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion and Easter follows Lent in the Christian calendar.

Easter is not a fixed date each year and is the first Sunday after the full moon (the Paschal Full Moon) following the Spring equinox so the date of Easter can vary from 22 March to 25 April.

The term ‘Easter‘ is not of Christian origin. It is another form of Astarte, one of the titles of the Chaldean goddess and also it links to the pagan goddess Eostre (a.k.a. Eastre). She was the Great Mother Goddess of the Saxon people in Europe. Similarly, the “dawn goddess of fertility was known as Ostare, Eostre and Ausos. Similar Goddesses were known by other names in other cultures and were celebrated in the springtime. Some were:

  • Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess
  • Hathor from ancient Egypt;
  • Ostara a Norse Goddess

Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover an in many languages, the words for “Easter” and “Passover” are the same. The festival of Pasch [Passover] held by Christians after the death of Jesus was a continuation of the Jewish feast quite different from the pagan festival of ‘Easter’. It is believed that the Jews derived their spring equinox celebrations, the Feast of Weeks and Passover, from a Babylonian holiday.  The Babylonians were one of the first, civilizations to use the equinoxes as important celebrations and a time for feasting.

A focus of many early spring religious festivals was a god whose own death and rebirth symbolized the death and rebirth of the earth through spring and winter.

Some believe Easter which used pagan and Jewish festivals helped integrate Christianity in to the Western world. It seems probable that around the second century A.D., Christian missionaries working to convert the peoples of Europe noticed that the Christian holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus coincided with their pagan spring equinox celebrations; it would be easier to convert them if the celebrations matched and made similar offerings. Easter gradually absorbed the traditional pagan and Celtic symbols.

Eggs were a symbol of fertility and often used in rituals to guarantee a woman’s ability to bear children and along with the rabbit featured in the spring festivals of Ostara. Eggs were decorated and given as gifts in ancient times to ensure fertility and prosperity throughout the year. Some Christians disassociate themselves entirely from Easter eggs because of their pagan connotations. Other Christians view Easter eggs, as symbols of joy and celebration (as they were forbidden during the fast of Lent) and as a “taste” of new life and resurrection that they have in Jesus Christ.

So whatever your beliefs about Easter we all wish you a peaceful and happy Easter .

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