Happy Easter, Happy Spring

alien-jesus

Easter is the most religious Christian holiday on the calendar, celebrating the resurrection of Christ.  It, like Christmas and Valentines Day, has been hijacked by commercial interests, so most of what you see are advertisements for plastic colored eggs, chocolate bunnies and Easter dresses.  I think the majority of the population will unknowingly celebrate Easter with a more Pagan influence than a religious one.  Considering myself more of a Naturalist than anything else, I think of Easter as a symbol of Spring, more closely related to Ēostre (or Ostara), the goddess of dawn, than with Jesus.  Spring, the Vernal Equinox (when the length of the day and night are equal), is when the Northern Hemisphere starts to show signs of life again after the hibernation of Winter.  Rabbits in many cultures symbolize fertility, and what could be more symbolic of new life than an egg?

Andrea Mantegna's Crucifixion, c. 1457-59, altar piece,

Andrea Mantegna’s Crucifixion, c. 1457-59, altar piece, The Louvre, Paris.

From encyclopedia.com:

The pagan roots of Easter involve the spring festivals of pre-Christian Europe and the Near East, which celebrate the rebirth of vegetation, welcoming the growing light as the sun becomes more powerful in its course toward summer. It is significant that in England and Germany the Church accepted the name of the pagan goddess “Easter” (Anglo-Saxon Eostra—her name has several spellings) for this new Christian holiday.

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From another website:

The rabbit also symbolizes lechery and fertility in traditional Chinese culture due to its prolific reproductive performance, always being ready to mate during any season.

In Western culture, the Rabbit symbolizes new births and prosperity; therefore, it has become one of the mascots for Easter Day along with the chocolate egg.

Easter-Eggs-600x396

Giovanni Bellini's Pieta, c. 1468-71. Brera Gallery, Milan

Giovanni Bellini’s Pieta, c. 1468-71. Brera Gallery, Milan

The truly Christian will ignore the eggs and bunnies, go to church and call it “Resurrection Sunday.”

From the website Christian Answers:

The name “Easter” has its roots in ancient polytheistic religions (paganism). On this, all scholars agree. This name is never used in the original Scriptures, nor is it ever associated biblically with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For these reasons, we prefer to use the term “Resurrection Sunday” rather than “Easter” when referring to the annual Christian remembrance of Christ’s resurrection.

 

Raphael's Transfiguration of Christ

Raphael’s Transfiguration of Christ, 1517, Vatican, Rome

The rest of us will celebrate with cute bunnies and colorful eggs.  If you read my post about Valentines Day, the same idea applies.  The pagans had a lot more fun with their holidays.

Probably one of the sweetest bunny pictures I've ever seen

Probably one of the sweetest bunny pictures I’ve ever seen

Commerical Easter wouldn't be complete with a kitten/baby chick picture

Commerical Easter wouldn’t be complete without a kitten/baby chick picture

More colorful eggs

More colorful eggs

Cute Easter card

Cute Easter card

Kittenand baby duck, also pretty cute

Kitten and duckling, also pretty cute

 

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One Response to Happy Easter, Happy Spring

  1. Russ says:

    Ah yes, another Christian Holiday hijacks a seasonal, non-christian celebration. I have to laugh when I see those car stickers: “Keep Christ in Christmas,” when it was the poor fellow himself who was rammed down the throats of the Winter Solstice celebrants – missing his supposed true springtime birth date by quite a wide margin. Oh wait! Spring is covered by Easter. Okay, got it.

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