Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pagan Origins of Easter

From Mental Floss:

Q: Why are eggs and bunnies associated with Easter?

A: The initial answer is pretty simple: Religious implications aside, Easter is essentially a celebration of springtime – a time in which big rabbits make a bunch of little rabbits and birds lay a whole lot of eggs, thus symbolizing rebirth. But the more complicated question is, why does the Easter bunny lay eggs? This strange animal hybrid originated as an Anglo-Saxon legend in which Eostre (the goddess of spring) turned a frozen bird into a hare to help it survive the harsh winter. The story was passed down through generations, and by the 1700s, Dutch settlers in America were telling their children that if they were good, the Easter bunny would come to their house and lay a beautiful nest of colorful eggs. For some reason, children really wanted colored eggs, so they went to great lengths to entice this magical bunny to place a nest at their house. Eventually, this led to our current celebration of the holiday in all its plastic grass, and marshmallow bunny glory.

On the Resurrection of Jesus: Here's a thought provoking interview about possible pagan origins of the Jesus story. Not sure if I agree with the idea that the resurrection story was inspired by Ishtar, but the parallels are strange and interesting.

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