Thursday, April 13, 2006

Happy Easter!

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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
- Astarté from ancient Greece
- Demeter from Mycenae
- Hathor from ancient Egypt
- Ishtar from Assyria
-t Kali, from India
- Ostara a Norse Goddess of fertility.
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).
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."
When second century Christian missionaries wanted the Saxons to accept Christianity, they decided to use the name Easter for this holiday so that it would match the name of the old Spring celebration. This made it more comfortable for those converts to accept Christianity and still retain some of their heritage. The goddess Eastres' earthly symbol was the rabbit, which was also known as a symbol of fertility. Originally, there were some very pagan (and sometimes utterly evil) practices that went along with the celebration in second century Europe, the predominate spring festival was a raucous Saxon fertility celebration in honor of the Saxon Goddess Eastre (Ostara), whose sacred animal was a hare.
The colored eggs associated with the bunny are of another, even more ancient origin. The eggs associated with this and other Vernal festivals have been symbols of rebirth and fertility for so long the precise roots of the tradition are unknown, and may date to the beginning of human civilization. Ancient Romans and Greeks used eggs as symbols of fertility, rebirth, and abundance- eggs were solar symbols, and figured in the festivals of numerous resurrected gods.

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