Easter is a holiday rich in tradition, lore, and history – not to mention chocolate bunnies and Peeps. Its Christian purpose is to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and to remind Christians of the sacrifice of their God’s one and only son for their sins. Here’s the kicker: this isn’t the first such story in history. Nope, it’s not even the 10th such story in literature. Pagans celebrate a holiday called Ostara, which is pretty much an amalgamation of ancient worship of deities that died for mankind and rose again, as well as a springtime blessing of the earth and worship of the young Goddesses.
Is that a lot to take in? Let’s have a quick breakdown of how most actually celebrate this holiday.
Ostara happens at the Vernal Equinox, but this year many earthy folk did not celebrate the first day of spring due to the cold. The great thing about holidays (better known as sabbats) based on celebrating Mother Earth is that they can truly be done any time you feel the time is right. My springtime ritual will be done today, and will feature the cute little eggs you see pictured next to the article. Instead of just dying your eggs a color or two, you can break out the paint brushes or sharpies and draw designs of things you’d like to happen in the coming year.
This can be simple things like a dollar sign for prosperity to a more abstract flower to see the beauty that life has to offer.
Ostara’s name comes from the name of the ancient, Virgin German Goddess of Spring, Eostre. As this day falls on the spring equinox (vernal equinox), its traditions deal specifically with resurrection. Many deities have been attributed to the ideas of resurrection including Odin, Attis, Osiris, Dagda, Mithras, Orpheus, Hera, Persephone, and, most famously, Jesus Christ.
Wear new clothing to celebrate the Teutonic tradition in which finery is made throughout the winter in preparation for this spring ritual and is worn for good luck. Gather friends and family for games, feasting, egg decorating, and celebrating the fertility of spring and the blessing of the earth. Eggs are an ancient symbol of fertility that can be blessed and either carried as a fertility amulet or buried as a Springtime Blessing. Rabbits are also pervasive symbols, as there is a tale of a lowly rabbit that wished to please Eostre and decorated eggs to do so. She was so pleased that she wanted the whole world to share in this joy. Thus, the idea of the Easter Bunny was born.
However you celebrate this special day, make sure to get to the store for those after Easter deals on chocolate and other sweet goodies!
Also, if you’re so inclined, Eagle Rock Community Church in Homer Glen is advertising a lot of Easter events for today. They’re located at 14367 W. 159th St., Homer Glen, IL. It promises to be a fun day of egg hunts for the kids, services for the adults, and food for everyone afterwards!