Easter is just a few days away. Have you ever wondered where this tradition got its roots? And what’s with the egg hunting and the Easter bunny with a basket full of eggs?
If you trace down the history of Easter, one would find numerous associations between the Christian faith and the pagan religions of the early times. Many may not be aware of this fact but the truth is Easter as we know it today and its traditions came from pagan symbols and from an ancient goddess named Ishtar. As years passed, the Easter eggs and the Easter bunny came about.
Easter and the Christian Faith
In the Christian faith, Easter may be regarded as the most important holiday celebrated. Christians celebrate Easter because this is the day when Christ was resurrected after dying on the cross. Christians celebrate Christ’s rebirth around the spring equinox and historically this is the time when pagans celebrate spring’s arrival. Pagans celebrate spring as it symbolizes the arrival of light and life all around waking up from slumber.
Are you wondering where the name Easter came from? Easter was named after the Saxon goddess Oestre or Eastre. In Deutschland (Germany) the goddess is called Ostara. Oestre means for dawn, the shining light arising from the east and this is why the goddess of dawn and spring is called Oestre. The term estrogen (which is what we call the female hormone) comes from the word Oestre.
In Germany, Ostara was considered a fertility goddess. She brings winter to an end and turns days brighter and longer after the spring equinox. It is said that Ostara has a deep passion for new life. The springing of blooms and the birth of babies in both humans and animals were attributed to her presence. Ostara’s sacred animal was the rabbit which as we all know reproduces rapidly.
Easter Eggs and the Easter Bunny
The Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility and sex is called Ishtar and during the feasts dedicated to Ishtar, eggs and bunnies were featured symbolizing fertility. The festivals of Ostara also featured symbols of fertility such as brightly colored eggs, chicks and bunnies as tokens of appreciation for Ostara’s gifts.
Whether you celebrate Easter because of your Christian faith or because of your appreciation for Ostara, we hope that you enjoy this celebration with your family, loved ones and friends.
Happy Easter everyone!
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