Tomorrow is a really big Christian Holiday for many people; But history tells us that Easter actually began as a pagan holiday (as did Christmas) which was originally meant to celebrate birth and/or rebirth - the end of winter, and the beginning of spring.
JudyMolland gives us the historical perspective of the origination of Easter, and even how it got its name!
Personally, I love the Spring, and memories of chocolate bunnies and marshmallow filled chocolate eggs are not lost on me either - - in fact I've had to revive that tradition, even though my children are all grown up now. Mmmmm
Happy Easter/Spring/Sunday everyone.
This year Easter falls on April 1, but what exactly does the holiday celebrate?
While it is true that Christians have celebrated Easter Sunday for centuries as the day of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, the roots of the holiday’s traditions can be traced back to pagan celebrations. In fact, the word Easter appears only once in some versions of the Bible — and even then it is actually a mistranslation of the Greek word for Passover, the festival that Jesus would have celebrated.
WHERE DOES THE WORD “EASTER” ORIGINATE?
During the 2nd century, early Christians attempting to convert pagan worshippers called their Christian celebration “Ostara,” which later became “Easter.”
WHAT ABOUT THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST?
Here too, Christians made the pragmatic decision to incorporate ancient pagan practices into their religion. The general symbolic story of the death of the son (sun) on a cross (the constellation of the Southern Cross) and his rebirth appears in many myths throughout the ancient world.
CELEBRATING THE SPRING EQUINOX
For millennia, people have celebrated the spring equinox – possibly the oldest holiday in human culture. In a world tied to the rhythms of nature, the end of winter and the beginning of spring, with the rebirth of life, must have been a truly joyful time.
The early Christians used the spring equinox to determine the Easter date. In 325, the Council of Nicaea decided that Easter would be the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the March equinox. (Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate Easter on a different date.)
ALL THINGS EASTER: BUNNIES, EGGS AND HOT CROSS BUNS
Easter has so many fun traditions! The origin of bunnies as an Easter motif goes back to Eostre, whose symbol was a rabbit or a hare. According to ancient myth, she owned a magic hare that hibernated all winter underground and bounded to life every spring, giving out presents to good children.
Exchange of eggs is an ancient custom, celebrated by many cultures. The egg has represented fertility and restoration for a long time, probably long before our ancestors had any knowledge of sperm and ova. Eggs are perfect symbols of the regeneration that comes with spring.
Hot cross buns are very ancient too. In the Old Testament we see the Israelites baking sweet buns for an idol, and religious leaders trying to put a stop to it. The early church clergy also tried to put a stop to sacred cakes being baked at Easter. In the end, in the face of defiant cake-baking pagan women, they gave up and blessed the cake instead.