Origins of Easter
Easter is a wonderful mix of Pagan, Hebrew and Christian traditions
Easter's Pagan Roots
Pagan symbology of fertility in the shape of the easter bunny and easter eggs are still part of our easer tradition, while the word Easter itself may be a derivation of Eostre, Goddess of Spring.
So from ancient Pagan roots the forms of western easter emerged. However, the meaning was adopted and altered by early Christians.
Jewish Traditions Reinvented
The festival of Passover commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery.Led by Moses and Aaron, the Israelites had been enslaved for 30 years and only escaped through God's intervention when he called forth a series of ten plagues upon Egypt. This story is all laid out in the Book of Exodus. The Jewish Passover festival was translated into a new form by early Christians, who fixed the date of the anniversary of the cruxifiction of Jesus as occuring around the spring festival.
The Christian Easter
When Christians came to Pagan Europe they adopted and adapted the Easter fertility celebrations to remember the miracle of the cruxifiction and ressurection of Jesus.
Easter marks the end of the Lent, the 40 days of fasting. This has an equivalent fasting period in almost all middle eastern and european traditions where there is a period of abstainance at the very time of the year when food is most scarce.
Nowadays, easter is a holiday time for many people and we get to take the first break or vacation of the year. Fewer and fewer people know or care about the roots of this festival, but there is so much to learn about easter for those who are interested.