Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter Eggs and Bunnies

What do colored eggs and little rabbits have to do with the death and supposed resurrection of Joshua of Nazareth? Not a blessed thing. Easter is an old, pagan, holy day upon which the early Christians overlaid their Jesus story.

Easter, the name
All of the Germanic languages, including English, use some variation of the word Easter to label the Jesus resurrection holiday. Easter derives from Eostre, the Saxon goddess of fertility. It is curious that her name is strikingly similar to Ishtar and Astarte, the Babylonian and Phoenician fertility goddesses. The Romance languages all use some variation of Pascha, from the Greek word for the Hebrew Passover.

Eggs and Bunnies
Coloring eggs was a part of the Persian fertility celebrations that migrated to the eastern Mediterranean. Randy rabbits copulating have been symbols of Spring throughout Europe since civilization began. The two merged into an egg-laying bunny who became the avatar of the resurrected Christ.

It really is not surprising that the fun, fertility festival continues to dominate the depressing, man nailed to a tree story the early Christians preached.