"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.
The True Meaning of Easter
April 1st, 2015