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KS Alternative Factor

The Goddess of Spring

So there I was at work on Friday, talking to a client on the phone, and in between business we got to talking about weekend plans. I made some comment about the plethora of bunnies and eggs in the stores, and she popped out with, “What on earth do bunnies and eggs have to do with Easter?”

So, since I have an endless supply of factoids on almost any conceivable subject in my head, gleaned from many years of reading just about anything that crosses my path, I then gave her a mini-lecture on the German Goddess Eostara. I can be such a geek.

To which she said something along the lines of, “you really do have a head crammed full of trivia, don’t you?”

Yes, as a matter of fact, I do.

Once I got home, I thought I’d google the subject, and here we go:

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Eostara
Teutonic goddess of spring. Eostara, for whom Easter is named, was the goddess of the rising sun. For the Germanic peoples, this was not the daily sunrise, but the passage of the spring equinox and cross quarter wherein the world returned to its governance by the sun.

The German fertility Goddess, Eostara is celebrated with symbols such as the egg, and the rabbit, among others. The egg has long been a symbol of renewal and fertility. All across Europe the art and craft of coloring and decorating eggs has endured as a tradition of this time of the year. Eggs and seeds are important symbols for the season because of the promise of life they hold within. Rabbits or hares are a symbol of fertility as well, for obvious reasons.

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So I’m curious as to why the Christian church didn’t change the name of the holiday? After all, Christmas was piggybacked onto the date of an old Roman holiday. Two of them, in fact:

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December 25 already hosted two other related festivals: natalis solis invicti (the Roman "birth of the unconquered sun"), and the birthday of Mithras, the Iranian "Sun of Righteousness" whose worship was popular with Roman soldiers.
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Thank you, google!

Christmas was given a Christian name. Why not Easter? I find it absolutely fascinating that such a major event of the Christian year is named after a goddess.

Comments

I find it absolutely fascinating that such a major event of the Christian year is named after a goddess.

I think I would find it even more fascinating how many Christians would either try to deny it, or explain the origins away as "not the real thing", or find some way to satisfactorily invalidate the fact for themselves.

P.S.

From witchvox.com:

Easter gets its name from the Teutonic goddess of spring and the dawn, whose name is spelled Oestre or Eastre (the origin of the word "east" comes from various Germanic, Austro-Hungarian words for dawn that share the root for the word "aurora" which means " to shine"). Modern pagans have generally accepted the spelling "Ostara" which honors this goddess as our word for the Vernal Equinox. The 1974 edition of Webster's New World Dictionary defines Easter thus: "orig., name of pagan vernal festival almost coincident in date with paschal festival of the church; Eastre, dawn goddess; 1. An annual Christian festival celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, held on the first Sunday after the date of the first full moon that occurs on or after March 21." The Vernal Equinox usually falls somewhere between March 19th and 22nd (note that the dictionary only mentions March 21st, as opposed to the date of the actual Equinox), and depending upon when the first full moon on or after the Equinox occurs, Easter falls sometime between late-March and mid-April.