Easter is often considered to be nothing more than a Christian holiday that is celebrated around the world. The Easter holiday marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The origin of Easter can be traced back to mythology. The name Easter comes from the name of an…
Easter is often considered to be nothing more than a Christian holiday that is celebrated around the world. The Easter holiday marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The origin of Easter can be traced back to mythology. The name Easter comes from the name of an ancient Greek Goddess of Spring, Eostre. Eostre, it was believed returned to the Earth after a long, cold winter and with her, brought along the light and warmth of Spring. Ancient Greeks celebrated the return of Eostre and spring with pagan festivals. As with many pagan festivals, the date coincided with the equinox on the 21st of March every year. It was important to keep Eostre happy in order to ensure she would return year after year. Therefore the Greeks threw an extravagant feast and celebration.
When the holiday became more Christianized, the celebration was no longer about welcoming spring, but instead was based upon the resurrection of Jesus. To sever the ties from paganism even further, the church changed the date of the festival from being held on the spring equinox, but instead, it was to be held the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox (or on the full moon if it happened to fall on the first Sunday). Because the holiday is to be scheduled based upon that of the full moon, the Easter holiday can be celebrated as early as March 22nd or as late as April 25th.
Symbols that are often associated with Easter and their meanings are:
Easter Eggs represent the new season and the new life of the crops as the world wakes up from the sleep of winter. Scenes like the rising sun and northern lights were printed on original Easter Eggs by pagans for their celebration. Christians believe in a legend that said that Mary offered eggs to Roman soldiers in exchange for not killing her son. Eggs are therefore considered a lucky gift to share on Easter.
Easter Lilies represent the purity of the new life that comes from being resurrected.
Easter Bunny was originally an Easter Hare. Hares are a symbol of fertility linked to the Greek goddess of fertility – Eostre. Later, as it was more recognized that rabbits were more active reproducers, the bunny replaced the hare.
Easter chicks represent the rebirth of the earth.
Today, in modern times, Easter is celebrated not only in the United States but around the world. Each symbol and tradition marking a tradition of life, renewal, rebirth, and resurrection, not just for the Christian belief of Christ, but for the rejuvenation of the world as winter is replaced by the warmth of spring.