Sunday, April 4, 2010

The History of Easter

Most people today believe that the practices of Easter *begin* with the story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the son of Jehovah God, but are incorrect in thinking so. The word Easter is derived from the name of the Anglo-Saxon goddess of fertility and Spring, Eostre, whose symbol was the hare (fertility). Eggs were exchanged at this time to symbolize rebirth and were painted to show the coming of the sun and the growth of a new and fertile land. There are several different variations of this goddess such as Ostra (Scandinavian), Ostara (Celtic), Ostern, and Eastre (Teutonic). Her festival was celebrated on the vernal (spring) equinox, or what we now know as the first day of Spring.

Early Christian missionaries wishing to convert the pagan tribes adopted the festival as their own. Since it fell around the time of the memorial of Jesus Christ's death (Passover), the church simply replaced one celebration with another, changing the meaning of the festival and making an easier transition into Christianity for the pagan tribes.

Have a very blessed day today, whether you celebrate Easter for its religious aspects, both Pagan and Christian, or are secular and just love getting chocolate in your plastic egg ;) Today we are dressed in pretty spring-colored dresses, watching secularly-easter-themed movies, going to play outside in the dirt and eating eggs and pancakes for breakfast. How do you celebrate Easter?

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