A Different Look at Easter Meaning
Christians observe a Sunday known as Easter to remember the resurrection of Jesus, Son of God, from the dead. It signifies that death is conquered.
But Easter has an earlier meaning. It was once associated with sun-worship. A Norse goddess of life and Spring was Eastre (also called Ostara). A festival was held in her honor every Spring. The month was called "Eastre moneth"(sp) by the Anglo-Saxons. Easter was also called Pasch by the Greeks, similar to the Jewish Passover spring holiday.
The egg was a symbol of resurrection or the return of life. Easter eggs were colored to represent flowers that would soon appear. In ancient England, children would sing in the streets and be given hard-boiled eggs. The kids would roll the eggs down a hill. The child whose egg was the last to break would have good luck.
In Egypt, the hare (bunny) stands for abundant life and fertility of the earth. As hares were born with open eyes, they were sacred to the "Open-eyed" moon. Still in Egypt today, Easter is a date set by the moon's orbit. In old Germany, the hare was sacred to the goddess Eastre and the parents told the children if they were good, the hare would lay eggs for them. An old superstition was that the head of the house divided a colored egg so each family member would get a piece. If any family member got lost, thinking of the family he shared the egg with would make the others think of him, and their thoughts would help him to find his way home.
Celtics said the sun danced on the day of the vernal equinox, which was the original New Year. Some folks in Ireland arise early on Easter morning to view the dance of the sun in a shimmering bowl of water. When Easter was New Year's Day, folks would throw off their old clothes and wear new ones to begin the new year. In northern Europe, wearing old clothes was discourteous to the Scandinavian goddess of Spring. They wore fresh clothes as the goddess Eastre was making the earth bloom. The Easter Parade on Fifth Avenue in New York helps this custom live on. In the early days, the Easter "bonnet" was a wreath of flowers or leaves. The crown stood for the sun's path, which made the return of Spring. The people also believe that wearing three new items would bring good luck.
The date for Easter is the first Sunday after the full moon, which appears on or next to March 21. Easter is observed one week later if the full moon is on that Sunday.
The Christians' date for Easter was set by the Council of Nice in 325 A.D. Because of what was determined, Easter varies on our calendar between March 22 and April 25
Glorious Easter to all Christians!
Happy Easter and Happy Spring to all!.
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