The Pagan Roots of Easter

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The Pagan Roots of Easter

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You can see it in stores and on television. Bunny rabbits, eggs, flowers, and all things pastel are once again in bloom.

 

Easter is coming.

 

Easter is a Christian holiday that celebrates the belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after his death.

In western Christianity, Easter is always celebrated on a Sunday between March 22nd and April 25th. In 2019, Easter Sunday will be on April 21st.

However, despite being a Christian holy day, Easter is actually pagan in its roots.

Christians have historically placed and named their holidays after pagan ones to gain more support and convert pagans to Christianity. Christmas and Halloween are two well-known examples of this, replacing Yule and Samhain respectively.

Easter used to be the Festival of Eostre, or Eastre, the Germanic goddess of spring, dawn, and fertility. According to St. Bede, a seventh and eighth-century historian, the entire month of April was dedicated to the goddess.

Many of the symbols of Eostre have found their ways into the modern celebration. Two of these are rabbits and eggs. Bunny rabbits were Eostre’s animal symbol, due to their connections to fertility. Eggs were a symbol of fertility and birth. Modern Easter celebrations have children racing to find colorful, candy-filled Easter Eggs left by the Easter Bunny.

Easter is undeniably a Christian holy day, but like many other Christian holidays, the pagan roots are glaringly obvious.

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