Have you ever wondered where the celebration of the Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Christ acquired its unusual name and odd symbols of colored eggs and rabbits?
Easter, is a Christian holiday that celebrates Christ’s resurrection from the dead following his death on Good Friday. . . a rebirth that is commemorated around the vernal equinox, historically a time of pagan celebration that coincides with the arrival of spring and symbolizes the arrival of light and the awakening of life around us. Easter is termed a moveable feast because it falls at some point between late March and late April each year following the cycle of the moon.
The answer lies in the ingenious way that the Christian church absorbed Pagan practices. After discovering that people were more reluctant to give up their holidays and festivals than their gods, they simply incorporated Pagan practices into Christian festivals. By doing so, the Church made Christianity more palatable to pagan folk reluctant to give up their festivals for somber Christian practices.
In second century Europe, the predominate spring festival was a raucous Saxon fertility celebration in honor of the Great Mother Goddess Eostre (Ostara), whose sacred animal was a hare. Her name was derived from the ancient word for spring: eastre.
The eggs associated with this and other vernal festivals have been symbols of rebirth, fertility and abundance for so long the precise roots of the tradition are unknown, and may date to the beginning of human civilization. The hare is often associated with moon goddesses; the egg and the hare together represent the god and the goddess, respectively.
Whatever your spiritual persuasion, Spring is a time of new beginnings. Try to get outside today into nature if you can and look for signs of springtime returning and the earth reawakening. In my opinion, worshipping the Creator outdoors makes so much more sense than sitting in a wooden pew.