Saturday, April 15, 2006

Eggs and bunnies

The lunar month around the month of April in the Julian calendar was called the Eostre-monath. And as the Christian tradition of Easter, which has also fallen in April, arrived in some Germanic-speaking regions, the people named the then-unnamed Christian day after the festival, that is, in English as Easter, and in German as Ostern.

In ancient Anglo-Saxon myth, the goddess Eostre (AKA Ostara) is the personification of the rising sun. In that capacity she is associated with the spring and is considered to be a fertility goddess. She is the friend of all children and to amuse then she changed her pet bird into a rabbit. This rabbit brought forth brightly colored eggs, which the goddess gave to the children as gifts.

Happy Eostre everyone!


Anonymous said...

A happy Eostre to you as well!

Sleestak said...

Oh, is that a fact? Or...are you just another fanatic soldier in the war on Xianity?

Marionette said...

My post wasn't intended to be anti-christian, I just wanted to show that the origins of some of the Easter related activities came from other sources.

The bit about the magical bird/rabbit comes from the Encyclopedia Mythica.

Marionette said...

Historically, the venerable Bede talks about Eostre in his history of the Anglo-Saxons, and that the month of Eostremonat (corresponding to April) was dedicated to her, even though by his time of writing, worship of her had largely died out.

It's slightly confusing because the Wiccans celebrate the festival of Oestre (same goddess, different spelling)on the March equinox.

Wiki says "Eostre, according to Bede, is a Goddess tied with the "growing light of spring," and embodies purity, youth, and beauty, as well as the traditional rebirth and renewal concepts. Her symbols are hares and eggs, which symbolize the beginning of life and fertility. The current Christian festival of Easter is thought to contain elements of a pre-Christian festival in honour of Eostre; hence the name Easter."

Ragnell said...
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