Happy Easter: Facts and Myths

By Michael Stelzner

For those of you who are Christian and celebrate this holiday (as we do in my house), I would like to wish you a very joyous Easter.

Here are some interesting factoids and myths about Easter:

Here is what WikiPedia says about Easter:

Easter, the Sunday of the Resurrection, Pascha, or Resurrection Day, is the most important religious feast of the Christian liturgical year, observed at some point between late March and late April each year (early April to early May in Eastern Christianity). It celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, which his followers believe occurred on the third day (counting inclusively) after his death by crucifixion some time in the period AD 27 to 33 (see Good Friday). This year it will fall on April 8, 2007.

And about Easter eggs:

In Christian times the egg had bestowed upon it a religious interpretation, becoming a symbol of the rock tomb out of which Christ emerged to the new life of His resurrection. Over the years it progressed that the egg, representing spring and fertility, would be merged into an already pagan springtime festival. Connecting this symbol to Christ’s Resurrection in the spring required much creativity and human reasoning.

Regarding the Easter Bunny‘s connection to supposed Goddess named Eostre:

Recently, a neopagan legend has sprung up concerning the Easter Bunny. Though it is usually circulated as an ancient Pagan tradition, it does not appear before 1990; it is presented by a fictitious character, Mrs. Sharp, created by an author of inspirational aphorisms. (Sarah Ban Breathnach, ‘Nostalgic Suggestions for Re-Creating the Family Celebrations and Seasonal Pastimes of the Victorian Home’). It reached a far wider audience when in 2002 a version of the story, The Coming of Eostre, was published in the children’s magazine Cricket.

According to the story, the goddess Eostre found a wounded bird in the snow. To help the little bird survive the winter, she transformed it into a rabbit, but the transformation was incomplete and the rabbit retained the ability to lay eggs. In thanks for its life being saved, the rabbit took the eggs and decorated them and left them as gifts for Eostre.

I am unable to find any Christian connection between the Easter Bunny and Easter.

What does this holiday mean to you?

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  • Debbie

    As a Christian, this is the most important holiday we celebrate. It is the resurrection that gives us joy and hope. If Christ had not risen, our hope would be in vain. But by faith I do believe. What a day of celebration!

  • http://www.writingwhitepapers.com/blog/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Amen sister!

    Mike

  • http://www.jesuschrist-shop.com jesus christ shop

    The Easter we celebrate today is a curious blend of the religious and the secular; of paganism, Judaism and Christianity.

    Some say the word Easter is derived from Eostre (also known as Ostara), an ancient Anglo-Saxon Goddess. She symbolized the rebirth of the day at dawn and the rebirth of life in the spring. The arrival of spring was celebrated all over the world long before the religious meaning became associated with Easter. As Christianity grew and spread throughout the world, it was common practice to adopt and modify existing non-Christian festivals and assimilate them into the Christian theology. Because Eostre was the goddess of spring and her symbolism dealt with renewal and rebirth, the Christian belief in the resurrection of Christ fit well with these themes.

  • cheryl

    Michael:

    Thank you for using your words to convey encouragement about Easter. It took me years to realize that religion and rule following weren’t what God in Christ wanted – but a relationship with ME! Wow.

    I am so thankful that my closeness to Christ doesn’t rest upon my ability to do/not do certain things.

    I’m glad he kept it simple: Believe.

    I’m glad my thoughts/actions don’t have to keep me from Him: turn around and head toward God.

    Talk about hope.

    Wow.

    Some common day symbols can serve as examples and representations of new life – but to truly know it – you go to the Source.

    Truth always stands.

  • http://havenpartners.biz Peter Houck

    Thanks Michael for your forthright witness. It is encouraging to have the unequivical declaration of your faith clearly stated in your blog.
    Re Easter: not necessary to bog down with secular/Christian debate. Each of us live what we believe, by definition. We can’t do otherwise. His Resurrection is a fact and every person has to be convinced by the Holy Spirit, not some human urging. It is interesting that so many people look for another explaination so they don’t have to deal with the question of our Lord Jesus’ Resurrection!
    Best blessings to you and your family!

  • http://www.writingwhitepapers.com/blog/ Michael Stelzner

    Peter – Thanks for your kind words. He has risen! – Mike

  • http://www.teethremoval.com wisdom

    Easter is an important holiday for Christians. Thanks for sharing this information.

  • http://cajoneador.blogspot.com Gary (aka fool4jesus)

    I second (or third?) the thanks for your witness to the world. You may find a few interesting (though no doubt less well-written than yours!) things on my blog. For those with concerns about the origin of Easter, it does not hurt my faith one bit to know, for example, the etymology of the word or the date or anything else. The church intentionally picked the date (as well as the date for Christmas) as an evangelistic move – you worship on this date, let me show you the real reason to have hope of eternal life. Not as an assimilation or syncretism, but an appropriation. I submit there’s a huge difference there.

  • http://Christiangudnasonprematureejaculation.com C Gudnason

    I heard that the Catholic church wanted to get more pagans to come to church so they made Easter a church holiday.

  • http://www.thedivorceinsider.com divorce online

    Clearly, Easter is an amalgam of christian and pagan beliefs. In order to gain more followers, the catholic church incorporated practices that are essentially paganistic.

  • http://kuyakevin.blogspot.com Kevin

    Christians have always struggled with how to handle pagan holidays.

    As far as I’m concerned, Easter eggs are harmless fun. Having said that, we should be careful to keep the focus on Christ’s resurrection.

    Kevin’s last blog post..Relationships: The Two Commandments

  • Shimmy

    i am doing a charity event for cancer research uk with some friends and we r dressin up as some easter caracters and sellin stuff and i wanna dress up as something 2 do with christianity even though i am muslim does anyone have any ideas other then a easter bunny or a chicken
    thx