What is Easter to you ? To me it’s a time or the year when we eat enough chocolate to render a large Rhinoceros very poorly indeed. To many others it’s a time to go and sit in a cold, damp building and be preached at endlessly about some political dissident being strung up by the Romans two thousand years ago.
Encyclopaedias tell us a quite different story Â– they tell of a pagan fertility festival. It’s not exactly rocket science Â– Easter (under whichever name it went at various times) was a pagan fertility feast recorded in western European history further back than any other organised “thing”. The reason of course for the fertility side of things is that it happily coincides with all the various wildlife in western europe getting it on rather urgently. Spring has sprung, and all that.
Perhaps a more formal validation might help;The word “Easter” derives from “Eostre” Â– a Saxon celebration much more ancient than the formation of the major religions we now know. Eostre was the Saxon “Great Mother Goddess”. Her name was derived from the ancient word for Spring Â– “Eostre”. Equivalent goddesses were celebrated through many other pre-christian belief systems relating to fertility Â– including Aphrodite (Greece) and Hathor (Egypt).
Things start to make sense very quickly as soon as you start looking at the Saxon goddesses. Eostre, also known as “Ostara” took the form of a Hare Â– although this seems to have become a rabbit through it’s perverted absorbtion into Christianity. Eggs have been associated with vernal festivals since pre-history as symbols of re-birth and fertility. The egg and the hare together represented the God and Goddess in many ancient civilisations.
Quite apart from the Jewish and Christian churches arguing over the date they should observe Easter prior to the Council of Nicaea, the reason for organised religion deciding on anything to do with the vernal equinoxe was for a reason we now commonly attribute to Microsoft. They picked their dates to cause maximum disruption and damage to the existing festivals of other belief systems. Embrace, extend, exterminate.
I had an interesting conversation with our eldest daughter when she was younger -Â to try and get her to understand that there are many religions Â– some of which are celebrating Easter, and some are not. We invented a new religion Â– worshipping the Chocolate Fairies (who make all the chocolate), and decided that the best time to have a chocolate festival would be Easter. We decided to re-title it “Chocolate Egg Weekend”. No messing around with complex allegory Â– just straightforward marketing that anybody can understand. We thought it might be good to have another festival in the winter for Hot Chocolate (because it’s nice when it’s cold), and perhaps have chocolate donkeys and stuff Â– purely to wind up everybody else.