Sunday, April 12, 2009

The True Meaning of Easter

As we celebrate another Easter, let us stop for a minute to consider the true meaning of the holiday. It isn't about silly things like chocolate, eggs, rabbits, or Jesus. It's about Eastre, Germanic goddess of the dawn (though her name has many alternate spellings, such as Ostara).

What is essentially the month of April was called Eastre's month (Eoster-monath) by early Germanic people. April was a time of rebirth, when winter was overcome by spring. The rabbits had mad amounts of bunny-sex, and eggs would begin to appear in nests throughout the woods. Eastre symbolized not only the coming of spring, but the light of morning. She symbolized, above all, new beginnings.

Beyond this, we know little of this goddess or the worship associated with her. We know chocolate was a late addition, as this is a gift of the New World. It was not available to Europe until long after Christianity had wiped away nearly all memory of Eastre.

I like to celebrate the holiday by considering how important it is to tolerate the ideas of others. We could have been left with a rich collection of Germanic mythology to compliment what we have now (largely Greek, Roman, and Semitic). Instead, the need to suppress that which is different has left us with a holiday whose name provides more questions than answers.

I wish I could be around in a few hundred years when little Scientologists ask, "What's Christmas named for?"

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