Happy Easter, one and all! Do you know where your pagan-tradition-cover-up is?
More accurately, happy Éostre-monath, the month of the Germanic calender dedicated to feasts celebrating Éostre, goddess of spring and fertility, from where we derive the modern word “Easter” and many of it’s odd traditions, including bunnies and eggs. Also, happy run-on-sentence day.
Of course, the ever-arrogant leaders of Western Christendom are infamous for their subversion/co-opting of pagan (and other) traditions and beliefs, but in this case, the culture-vultures came along during Christianity’s earlier, Jewish-rooted infancy. A “movable feast”, modern Easter has fallen on Nisan 14 of the Hebrew lunisolar calendar before (typically inclusive) Christian objections to the indignity of celebrating Easter based on Jewish tradition, whereupon it was moved and fixed to March 11 on the Julian calendar. After that, it gets muddier, as revision after revision set the date on various Sundays in the New (Revised Julian) Calendar and the Gregorian calendar. “Movable feast”, indeed. Those wacky protoChristians – they’re nothing if not consistent in their inconsistency.
The modern Easter, a hodgepodge of rebirth and fertility myths, includes hares (fertility), fasting (rebirth of the spirit), eggs (rebirth/fertility), whipping women or throwing cold water on them (suppression of rebirth/fertility under the guise of purification – another gift of religions around the world), water fights (your guess is as good as mine – Polish traditions are strange), and making lamb sculptures out of butter.
I’m sensing mixed messages.
Confused? You should be. Easter, like many pagan traditions co-opted by monotheistic religions, is a bloody mess. What was once an innocent celebration of renewal and fertility is now a murky stew of incomprehensible behaviors on seemingly random days, purportedly to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Why bother? Just get the kids some chocolate and call it a day.