Sunday, April 20

The Real Origins of Easter


Easter: The word is derived from a Saxon goddess of Dawn and Spring known as Oestre or Eastre (Ostara in Germany). She was a fertility goddess and her sacred animal was the hare.

Also Known As: Alban Eiler, Eostre, Lady Day, Easter, and Festival of Trees.

Symbols: Rabbits, chicks, eggs, and equilateral cross.

Traditional Incenses: Violet, jasmine, rose, sage, and strawberry.

Sacred Foods: Fish, sweets, sweet breads, hot cross buns, and eggs.

History: First introduced to the Celtic world by the Saxons around 600 A.D., Easter was celebrated during the Vernal Equinox on March 21. Since then it has been overshadowed by the more popular Christian holiday, which celebrates the resurrection of Christ.

Customs: Collecting and decorating eggs, bird watching, egg hunts, and burying eggs in fields.

Easter Eggs: Eggs were a symbol of fertility in most ancient cultures, and the Celts were no different. During the spring festival to celebrate Ostara, they painted eggs to give as gifts. The chocolate eggs we now associate with Easter were introduced at a much later date.

The Legend of the Goddess Ostara and the Easter Bunny

“Feeling guilty about arriving late one spring, the goddess Ostara saved the life of a poor bird whose wings had been frozen by the snow. Filled with compassion for him since he could no longer fly, Ostara turned him into a snow hare and gave him the gift of being able to run with incredible speed so he could protect himself from hunters. In remembrance of his earlier form as a bird, she also gave him the ability to lay eggs (in all the colors of the rainbow). 

However, the hare later angered the goddess Ostara, and she cast him into the skies where he would remain as the constellation Lepus (the Hare), forever positioned under the feet of the constellation Orion (the Hunter). He was allowed to return to earth once a year, but only to give away his eggs to the children attending the Ostara festivals that were held each spring. Thus, the tradition of the Easter Bunny had begun" (Easter: History and Traditions).

Sources:
--Celtic Folklore Cooking by Joanne Asala
--Easter: History and Traditions:  
http://www.goddessgift.com/Pandora's_Box/Easter-history.htm

--The Pagan Origins of the Easter Bunny:  http://altreligion.net/?page_id=1789

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