The Origin of Easter

THE ORIGIN OF EASTER

Most sacred of holy days in the Christian faith.  It’s origin, not so much.

There was a practical reason for staging a Christian rite on the same day as a long-observed heathen festival; pagan goddess of spring and fertility, Eastre.  Second-century Christian missionaries realized that celebrating on a day when no one else was celebrating made Christian converts easy targets for persecution.

Although the Christian missionaries observed that the centuries-old festival to Eastre, which commemorated at the start of spring; it coincided with their own observance of the miracle of the Resurrection of Christ.  This decision saved the lives of countless Christians.

In A.D. 325, the Council of Nicaea, issued the so-called Easter Rule:  Easter should be celebrated on “the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox.”  Consequently, Easter is astronomically bound never to fall earlier than March 22 or later than April 24.

According to the Venerable Bede, the English historian, the goddess Eastre was worshiped by the Anglo-Saxons through her earthly symbol, the hare.

Hence, the “Easter bunny.”   It is said that the Germans brought the symbol of the Easter rabbit to America.   However, it was not immediately embraced.  It was shortly after the Civil War, when Easter itself was widely celebrated.

To those who acknowledge and celebrate Easter, may it be a blessed and happy one.

Source: Panati’s Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things, Charles Panati

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