Category Archives: mythology
Easter is now a time for Christians to recall the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (not his surname), but our celebration of the event today is a combination of the Christian and pagan beliefs and mythology. The name Easter itself derives from the pagan goddess Eostre of old English times, and the word is said to derive from Germanic Austron, meaning Dawn. And this further derives from Indo-European for ‘to shine‘. This is no accident, as the Christian missionaries found it the best way for pagans to accept a new faith is to supplant a pagan celebration with a similar connotation. Jesus’s resurrection is a defeat of death and a new beginning for humanity, in other words, a dawning of a new covenant in Christian terms.
The idea of the Easter bunny that lays eggs doesn’t make sense these days, but a journey into the past clears up the mystery somewhat. The bunny also has its origins with the goddess Eostre who is closely associated with the hare (not rabbits). The celebration for Eostre is in the spring when life is renewing. Both the hare and eggs are associated with fertility and new life. Again, early missionaries adapted the idea of the hare and the eggs to the Christian Easter celebration. There are a number of other theories to the origin of the Easter bunny and coloured eggs that may have also influenced the tradition, but it is my opinion that the adaptation of the pagan feast is the most plausible. For example, Jews — who were the first to become Christians — had to abstain from eggs during the period of Lent preceding Easter. They roasted the eggs to preserve them during this time, then at Easter broke their fast from eggs with a celebration. However, it is interesting to note that modern Christians (especially Catholics) abstain from meat during Fridays in Lent (at least on Good Friday) but will eat eggs instead, or fish.
Whatever your belief or interest in Easter, I extend to you best wishes. Take care on the roads and enjoy the celebration.