"O L-RD, Who are my power and my strength and my refuge in the day of trouble, to You nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, 'Only lies have our fathers handed down to us, emptiness in which there is nothing of any avail! Can a man make gods for himself, and they are no gods? 'Therefore, behold I let them know; at this time I will let them know My power and My might, and they shall know that My Name is the L-RD".
Jeremiah 16:19-21

Easter the Pagan Goddess …

March 30, 2013

in Christianity:,Idolatry,Judaism vs. Christianity,Judaism:

Eosturmonath has a name which is now translated “Paschal month”, and which was once called after a goddess of theirs named Eostre, Saint Bede the Venerable.

Strange how the name of the most important festival of the Christian calendar refers to a pagan goddess, but that is how pagan Easter origin is. The word Easter originated from the West Saxon Old English Ēastre, goddess of the dawn of the Germanic peoples of Europe, including the English or Anglo-Saxon people. The pagan religion having died out at the onslaught of Christianity, little is known about the goddess Ēastre, or Ēostre (Northumbrian Old English), besides that she was goddess of light, as echoed by the meaning of her name, “to shine.” There is, however, a goddess worshipped throughout most of the Near East whose name peculiarly sounds like Eostre’s: Ishtar, also known as Ashtoreth and Astarte, queen of heaven and pagan goddess of love and beauty.

What is clear from the writings of Saint Bede the Venerable, who in his treatise The Reckoning of Time documented the computation of Easter date, is, Eostre was a goddess so important that an entire month in the Old English calendar was named after her. April used to be called Eosturmonath in Old English, and is still called Ostermonat in German, literally meaning “month of Easter.” This month was later renamed Paschal month, though the latter failed to demolish the old name, and April is still more popularly known for Easter than Pasch. What was in the month of Easter that the goddess’ name marvelously endured even as her worshippers were Christianized?

Easter the Pagan Festival

Eostre, in whose honour feasts were celebrated in that month. Now they designate that Paschal season by her name, calling the joys of the new rite by the time-honoured name of the old observance, Saint Bede the Venerable.

The month of Easter was not named after the goddess Eostre for nothing. It was literally the month of Easter, the entire month dedicated to the pagan goddess. Easter was the month of celebrations flamboyantly honoring the goddess Easter. This pagan festival did not cease in the pages of Easter history, but is still alive today, observed by neo-pagans and Wiccans. The pagan feast goes by the goddess’ Old High German name, Ostara. What is Ostara? Does the pagan festival by any chance have to do with Lent, by which the whole Christian season of penance before Easter is called?

Easter the Spring Festival

Lent means “spring,” and Easter marks the spring equinox, that time of year when, after the fading cold of winter, the day is finally as long as the night, indicating sunny days ahead. As in winter and the winter solstice, the pagans of Europe held a festival to celebrate the vernal equinox. Ostara, as this festival is called, celebrates spring and all the meaning and prognostications associated with the season: new light, new life, and so on. Like the pagan festival in winter, which became All Saints Day, and the feast on winter solstice, which gave way to Christmas, the Church assimilated the pagan festival of spring equinox and made the pagan Ostara Christian, though the pagan name endured, and is to this day the designation of the Christian festival — Easter.

This was also how the penitent period of the Lenten season is called by such ostensibly irrelevant name that means “spring,” bearing with it indications of the real Easter origin. Lent was just that — the spring season, and Easter was the festival celebrated by the pagan peoples of Europe right on the equinox in spring. How was Ostara celebrated?

Easter eggs supposedly brought by the Easter bunny …

The Origin of Easter Eggs

Through long ages there seem to have lingered among the people Easter-games so-called, which the church itself had to tolerate: I allude especially to the custom of Easter eggs, and to the Easter tale which preachers told from the pulpit for the people’s amusement, connecting it with Christian reminiscences, Jakob Grimm.

In the history of Easter, the Christian holiday is commonly celebrated with painted Easter eggs, which, in the words of adults to children, the Easter bunny supposedly lays and gifts to well-behaved kids. Did you ask a Christian priest about the origins of Easter eggs and bunnies? Even if the clergyman told you, you’d probably get a more plausible answer from a witch. Well, to be fair, the old traditions about eggs were widespread, with even ancient Persians and Egyptians painting eggs in spring. Decorating eggs might well be more of a Middle-Eastern custom than European. Then again, when did the Easter bunny come into the picture bringing the Easter eggs, having supposedly laid the eggs itself?

Jacob Grimm, one of the Grimm brothers, who collected old European tales like Snow White and Cinderella, claimed that Easter eggs were symbols of fertility associated with Eostre and her feast Ostara. Eggs would be plenty enough in Europe during the bird’s mating season, naturally. How about the Easter bunny that brought the eggs? When did rabbits start laying Easter eggs?

The Origin of Easter Bunnies

The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you, Leviticus 11:6.

Well, even Jacob Grimm failed to reconstruct the origin of Easter bunnies. One can reasonably construe that the origins of Easter eggs and bunnies have to do with hares and rabbits coming out of their burrows in spring when the snow has melted, just when strange, colored, so un-birdlike eggs also materialized all over the place. Eggs have to come somewhere, don’t they?

At any rate, eggs and rabbits can be more closely associated with spring than the dinner in a dry desert’s city with the Messiah, who is about to be slaughtered the day after. Discounting all the subjective and airy-fairy interpretations Christians can make to attach eggs and bunnies to Jesus’ resurrection, with rabbits even deemed unclean like pigs by the people of the Bible (Leviticus 11:6), the idea of Easter bunnies to Lord’s Supper is nothing short of farfetched, if not incompatible, possibly even blasphemous. Compare that with the pagan Europeans’ belief that eggs and hares are sacred fertility symbols in the worship of the goddess of spring, Eostre.

The Pagan-born Easter

From a pagan egg hatched a Christian festival: Easter Sunday, though on usually different Sundays between the Western and Eastern Churches. As Christians now put it, Easter Sunday celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the messiah’s triumph over death, which is taken as proof of Jesus’ divinity. The pagan elements have not been shaken off, however, and modern-day Christians still paint eggs on Easter and do Easter egg hunts, as well as get some stuffed-toy or candy Easter rabbits. Do you like Easter eggs and bunnies too? Do you like to celebrate the entire Christian holiday, even though Easter origin is pagan?

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