Another Easter has come and gone but I must say I enjoyed my sarcastic interaction with a few co-workers last week concerning the holiday. As some of them were leaving for the day, they said, “Enjoy your weekend and Happy Easter”. My reply was “Thank you and enjoy your Pagan holiday”. I guess you can image the snarls and odd looks I received in return. One woman questioned me as to what I meant stating “What do you mean? Easter is the celebration of Pass Over and the resurrection of Jesus.” My reply was yeah, that’s what Easter had been transformed into; however that’s not its origin”. “Ok, whatever” she said as she smirked and walked off.
With little time and research anybody who wants to know the truth can. Nonetheless, like most religious followers, faith equals truth and facts are really not that important. One thing that needs to be noted is that Christians, Christianized many Pagan traditions and made them their own. Other words that can be used to describe this is “adopted” or “stole”. It’s all good though, because I will give you 3 quick historical facts about the true meanings and origins of Easter.
1. Easter Historically Had Nothing To Do With Christ’s Resurrection. Surprise!
The name Easter comes from Ostera or Eostre, the Anglo goddess of spring. For the Pagans, Spring and the Spring/March equinox represented the renewal of life and fertility. These annual celebrations happened for thousands of years before Christ’s resurrection.
2. It’s Always About Sex
Easter Eggs were symbols of birth and fertility. Of course you can’t have birth without a little bit of sex right? The image of the hare or rabbit (Easter Bunny) is also a representation of fertility. Because we all know how fast rabbits reproduce. The Babylonians, Egyptians, Persians, and Chinese all had customs of coloring eggs which had nothing to do with the resurrection of Jesus but with fertility.
3. Jesus Was Not The First Deity To Be Resurrected After Death
The Egyptian god Osiris was resurrected after death. His son, Horus who was born on December 25th (to virgin Isis), died and was resurrected. Krishna (the second person in the Hindu Trinity) was of a virgin birth and was resurrected after death. The Greek deity Dionysus and the Phrygian god Attis are also examples of resurrections. Particularly Attis’ resurrection was celebrated in March by chopping down a pine tree and decorating it (sound familiar?). These are just a few examples of gods that existed well before the death and resurrection story of Jesus.
Many theologians and scholars believe the birth, death and resurrection story of Jesus Christ is just a retelling of the same story from different cultures, cults and religions that came before it. The culture and history around why this holiday was adopted by Christians is a rich one. I don’t want to suggest that there is anything wrong with celebrating the Easter holiday. I do; however wish the Christians that dominate our societies would just acknowledge and recognize the true origins of the holiday. Happy Easter.
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