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Azhdaya Ravenwolf
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Pagan origins of Easter ~

Many, perhaps most, Pagan religions in the Mediterranean area had a major seasonal day of religious celebration at or following the Spring Equinox. Cybele, the Phrygian fertility goddess, had a consort, Attis, who was believed to have been born via a virgin birth. Attis was believed to have died and been resurrected each year during the period MAR-22 to MAR-25. . . .

Gerald L. Berry, author of "Religions of the World," wrote:

"About 200 B.C. mystery cults began to appear in Rome just as they had earlier in Greece. Most notable was the Cybele cult centered on Vatican hill ...Associated with the Cybele cult was that of her lover, Attis (the older Tammuz, Osiris, Dionysus, or Orpheus under a new name). He was a god of ever-reviving vegetation. Born of a virgin, he died and was reborn annually. The festival began as a day of blood on Black Friday and culminated after three days in a day of rejoicing over the resurrection." . . .

Wherever Christian worship of Jesus and Pagan worship of Attis were active in the same geographical area in ancient times, Christians:. . .

"... used to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus on the same date; and pagans and Christians used to quarrel bitterly about which of their gods was the true prototype and which the imitation." . . .

Many religious historians and liberal theologians believe that the death and resurrection legends were first associated with Attis, many centuries before the birth of Jesus. They were simply grafted onto stories of Jesus' life in order to make Christian theology more acceptable to Pagans. Others suggest that many of the events in Jesus' life that were recorded in the gospels were lifted from the life of Krishna, the second person of the Hindu Trinity. Ancient Christians had an alternative explanation; they claimed that Satan had created counterfeit deities in advance of the coming of Christ in order to confuse humanity. 4 Modern-day Christians generally regard the Attis legend as being a Pagan myth of little value with no connection to Jesus. They regard Jesus' death and resurrection account as being true, and unrelated to the earlier tradition. . . .

Wiccans and other modern-day Neopagans continue to celebrate the Spring Equinox as one of their 8 yearly Sabbats (holy days of celebration). Near the Mediterranean, this is a time of sprouting of the summer's crop; farther north, it is the time for seeding. Their rituals at the Spring Equinox are related primarily to the fertility of the crops and to the balance of the day and night times. In those places where Wiccans can safely celebrate the Sabbat out of doors without threat of religious persecution, they often incorporate a bonfire into their rituals, jumping over the dying embers is believed to assure fertility of people and crops.

Origins of the name "Easter" ~

The name "Easter" originated with the names of an ancient Goddess and God. The Venerable Bede, (672-735 CE.) a Christian scholar, first asserted in his book De Ratione Temporum that Easter was named after Eostre (a.k.a. Eastre). She was the Great Mother Goddess of the Saxon people in Northern Europe. Similarly, the "Teutonic dawn goddess of fertility [was] known variously as Ostare, Ostara, Ostern, Eostra, Eostre, Eostur, Eastra, Eastur, Austron and Ausos." 1 Her name was derived from the ancient word for spring: "eastre." Similar Goddesses were known by other names in ancient cultures around the Mediterranean, and were celebrated in the springtime. Some were:

Aphrodite from ancient Cyprus

Ashtoreth from ancient Israel

Astarte from ancient Greece

Demeter from Mycenae

Hathor from ancient Egypt

Ishtar from Assyria

Kali, from India

Ostara a Norse Goddess of fertility.

An alternative explanation has been suggested. The name given by the Frankish church to Jesus' resurrection festival included the Latin word "alba" which means "white." (This was a reference to the white robes that were worn during the festival.) "Alba" also has a second meaning: "sunrise." When the name of the festival was translated into German, the "sunrise" meaning was selected in error. This became "ostern" in German. Ostern has been proposed as the origin of the word "Easter". 2

There are two popular beliefs about the origin of the English word "Sunday." It is derived from the name of the Scandinavian sun Goddess Sunna (a.k.a. Sunne, Frau Sonne). 5,6  . . .

It is derived from "Sol," the Roman God of the Sun." Their phrase "Dies Solis" means "day of the Sun." The Christian saint Jerome (d. 420) commented "If it is called the day of the sun by the pagans, we willingly accept this name, for on this day the Light of the world arose, on this day the Sun of Justice shone forth."



March 12, 2010 at 5:35 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Azhdaya Ravenwolf
Site Owner
Posts: 354


Whether you believe it or not Easter in the beginning was a pagan festival. During the spring, the Saxons celebrated the return of spring with a festival in which they commemorated their goddess of offspring of the springtime. This goddess was known as Ostara or Eostre. She was the Anglo-Saxon Goddess of Spring, the East, Resurrection, and Rebirth. Our modern day Easter is derived from the name of Eostre and the celebrations that we join in are also associated with this pagan festival.

The Anglo-Saxons during the festival offered colored eggs to her at what was called the Vernal Equinox. They placed these multi-colored eggs at graves the Egyptians and Greeks were also know to place eggs at gravesites. This was a sign of re-birth. Through legends, the name of both Goddesses Ostara and Eostre played a part in the Easter that we know today. Eostre was said to have been a playful goddess that would rule over the earth beginning when the Sun King traveled across the sky in chariot marking the end of winter. Ostara came to earth after the Sun King rode and appeared as a beautiful maiden that carried with her a basket of colorful eggs. Ostara had a magical companion. A white rabbit that traveled with her to bring life back to dying plants and flowers and hiding colorful eggs in the fields.

There is one myth centered on Ostara that proclaims that she found a bird that was dying of the cold weather and she changed the bird into a rabbit so it would stay warm. Legend has it this is where the Easter bunny originated, but it also could have been from the magical companion of Ostara that traveled with her on her journey to bring life back to the earth.

When the Christian missionaries encountered the various tribes with their own beliefs and attempted to convert them to Christianity, they did so in a manner not to disturb their celebrations. If the Christians had tried to stop all pagan celebrations, it would have been certain death. To spread their Christian beliefs, they decided to allow them to celebrate their pagan festival in a somewhat Christian manner. Since, their pagan spring festival was during the same time that the Christians observed the Resurrection of Christ; it was easier to change this into a Christian celebration. The people were won over through time and endurance.

Easter, prior to A.D. 325 was celebrated on different days of the week. However, during the year of 325 AD, the council of the Nicaea issued the Easter Rule, which proclaims that Easter will be celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon or after the vernal equinox. In essence, Easter must be celebrated on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25. Easter was not celebrated in America until after the Civil War.

March 12, 2010 at 5:38 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Azhdaya Ravenwolf
Site Owner
Posts: 354

Please feel free to add to this thread/post . . . Afterall, we are here to "Learn & Share."   ) :) (


Every Teacher is a Student, every Student a Teacher ~

~ Azhdaya Ravenwolf 


March 24, 2014 at 1:39 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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