Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Ostara!

As Christians go about celebrating the torture and recovery of their favorite 1st century Jew, atheists may wonder: what’s the deal with all the eggs and bunnies? Who am I kidding… most atheists understand they are pagan fertility symbols. But how much do you know about Easter?

The word “Easter” traces directly to the Anglo-Saxon name for the month of April: Eostur-monath (monath means month). Eostur likely derives from either Eostre or Ostara (polytheist Europeans either wrote very little or destroyed most of their history during Christianization, so it is pieced together by scholars long after the fact).

Eostre is a Germanic goddess associated with spring, fertility, rebirth, and the morning sunrise. Eostre/Ostara is probably related to the Roman goddess Aurora, the Greek Eos, the Babylonian Ishtar, and the Hindu Ushas. This goddess gets around…

Deities in a pantheon are typically associated with iconography that symbolizes aspects of their power. Bunnies fuck like rabbits, so it’s pretty easy to see the connection to fertility. Eggs are equally overt in their symbolism. The eggs were likely hidden during the persecution of pagans by Christians, and it persisted as a game after syncretism kicked in.

Chocolate is a much later addition to the whole holiday, as it took contact with the Americas before cocoa was introduced to Christians. Jelly beans are a confection heavily influenced by Middle Eastern candies such as Turkish Delight and Jordan Almonds, which pioneered the use of a process called panning to apply a hard candy shell to protect a soft, chewy center.

As with Christmas, there is very little about Easter which is actually Christian.


  1. Interesting that the English word for Easter comes from Germanic pagan tradition. That explains a lot of modern symbols associated with Easter.

    But in French, the word for Easter, Pâques, comes from Latin Pascha, which comes from the hebrew word pèsah, which means 'to pass over'.

    So the whole thing with bunny rabbits having wild intercourse and laying eggs is, well, very English/Germanic in origin, and is worthy of a Monty Python sketch.

  2. It's true that most of Europe (England and Germany excluded) uses a name for Easter which is derived from the Hebrew holiday, but it's not as though they have a seder and celebrate in a particularly Christian way. These traditions were assumed by the churches in local areas which already practiced them for centuries before Christians came along.

  3. Atheists


    you little liars do nothing but antagonize…

    and you try to eliminate all the dreams and hopes of humanity…

    but you LOST…


    Einstein puts the final nail in the coffin of atheism…



    atheists deny their own life element…



  4. Random Commenter4/04/2010 6:55 PM

    Baha, how does the theory of relativity prove anything against atheists? You're funny.

  5. Don't you see! An inbred Frenchman predicted Depeche Mode, which is ushering in the end of times!

  6. Random Commenter4/04/2010 7:14 PM

    Thing is no one is fighting God. He just isn't there. He didn't show up for the fight. Nothing went on.

    Now this is just another conspiracy or apocalypse hypothesis, which I've been hearing from innumerable sects. Doesn't really prove anything, except that some people are scared of the end of the world. What if there is no end? What if it comes with death?

    I bet that's scarier for many. Religion is a sham. Evidence that fear can spiral out of control until it is a central part of society.

    Atheists are not fighting anything. I find more hope knowing that I'm not a bloody servant or sinner forced to follow the will of God. I find more hope knowing that society has more liberty and morality without a God, but instead following common sense and reason.

    Fear is not a moral base. It is a consequence of childishness and it should be treated as such.

    I pity you DM, possibly as much as you pity those that don't have your fears in common.


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