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:
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.
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:
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.
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.