Vexen Crabtree 2015

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Vexen Crabtree's Live Journal

Sociology, Theology, Anti-Religion and Exploration: Forcing Humanity Forwards


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Vexen Crabtree 2015
vexen

The True Meaning of Easter

"The True Meaning of Easter". Intro paragraph:

The word Easter might have derived from a springtime Anglo-Saxon fertility goddess called Eastre (known as Eostre, in German and in Norse as Ostara), whose symbolism included the hare, the moon and eggs. But that figure is disputed, and others say it derives from the word 'east', 'dawn' or from the Norse word for the spring season. Whichever it is, Easter is steeped in the symbolism of cycle of the sun, which rises in the East, and which in spring fondles the natural world to life. In the Northern Hemisphere, the spring equinox occurs on the 21st of March when the length of the day increases until it is equal with the length of the night. The sun, growing in power, finally overtakes darkness, and this solar rebirth is celebrated in most ancient pagan religions, where agricultural life depended on the growth of spring. Hence why the images of Easter include two of the most ancient and universal symbols of birth, nature, fertility, life and rebirth: the egg and the rabbit. We told anthropomorphized stories to explain why the sun, and nature, waxed and waned with the seasons, and thus Adonis, Attis, Dionysus, Osiris and many other Greek and Roman cults celebrated the death and rebirth of their gods at this time of year. Since the very first centuries CE Christian apologists have had to defend themselves against accusations that the Jesus story was a retelling of pagan myths. The beloved chocolate egg has now come to be the ubiquitous and central image of Easter and the Easter holidays, and the Easter Bunny can often be seen delivering (and hiding) them, reminding us that Easter is quintessentially a pagan, sun-worshipping festival.

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The reason why Christians have eggs at Easter doesn't have anything to do with paganism though. It's because originally Lent was a time of fasting in which people didn't eat eggs (amongst other things) - remember back to Shrove Tuesday, when pancakes are eaten? Originally that was to use up things like oil, butter, eggs etc which wouldn't be eaten in Lent. Eggs at Easter celebrate the ending of the fasting of Lent.

Yes, and that's why Christians would bake eggs (to make them last through Lent), and eat them afterwards during their nocturnal feat on Easter night.

I've got enough notes to do a page specifically on Christian Easter which I might ask your help for - although I might save that page for next year, alongside the "Rejuvination and Rebirth" page. That's why 2/4 of the symbols on this page aren't linked yet to subpages.

Quite happy to help out and have my brains picked on the subject. :-) In addition to the Anglican stance on things, I'm also reasonably conversant with Catholic dogma and Lutheran practices, though Cary Bass-Deschênes on Facebook would be better for the Lutheran side as he's an ordained minister (he used to be one of the admins in the FB RationalWiki group).

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