Sunday, March 31, 2013

Why "Happy Easter"?

Why Happy Easter?   Because, before the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ got tacked onto it, Easter - or Ishtar or Eostre -  was a celebration, a lovely pagan festival.

...What is interesting to note here is that in the ancient world, wherever you had popular resurrected god myths, Christianity found lots of converts. So, eventually Christianity came to an accommodation with the pagan Spring festival. Although we see no celebration of Easter in the New Testament, early church fathers celebrated it, and today many churches are offering "sunrise services" at Easter – an obvious pagan solar celebration. The date of Easter is not fixed, but instead is governed by the phases of the moon – how pagan is that?

All the fun things about Easter are pagan. Bunnies are a leftover from the pagan festival of Eostre, a great northern goddess whose symbol was a rabbit or hare. Exchange of eggs is an ancient custom, celebrated by many cultures. 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.


Anonymous said...

So how do you account for Pâques? Is that a bastardization of pagan?

GT said...

Pascua comes from passover. The Christian celebration of Christ's rebirth coincided with Jewish passover. But hundreds of years ago the church switched the date of Christ's rebirth to coincide instead with the pagan festival of Easter, on the first sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox.