A celebration many Christian’s and non-Christian’s enjoy, where chocolate eggs are hidden for children to find or simply given out front to eat. A day where rabbits come to mind and people paint eggs.
Many know of the pagan origins of Easter with the name Easter itself being said to come from a mother goddess of the Saxon people known by many names such as Eostre and Eastre. Eostre is a goddess of the spring where she was honoured with a festival known as Eastre, celebrated on the Spring Equinox. The animal symbolizing Eostre happens to be the rabbit (which is a symbol of fertility), which is where the Easter rabbit came from.
Easter in Australia has a little difference to other countries. While there is the Easter rabbit within Australia, there is also the Easter Bilby. Bilbies have been referred as “Native Rabbits” or “Australian Rabbits” by a few and interestingly bilbies compete for food with the invasive rabbits themselves. Easter chocolates and merchandise are made in the shape of bilbies, sold throughout Australia as both as an alternative to Easter rabbits and as a way to raise awareness and money for conservation of bilbies themselves.
Attis, a vegetation god, is believed to have died and resurrected every year between March 22nd and March 25th, obviously near the time of Easter. This was much celebrated and when Christian’s came along celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus it is said the worshippers of Attis and Jesus quarrelled.
Many pagans at this day celebrate the Spring Equinox as a Sabbat where rituals related to fertility are done, as the Spring Equinox is a time to sow seeds or even when seeds are already sprouting. There are pagans who have a fire at this time and jump over it when it has died down for good fortune. Non-pagans also have fires at this time of the year which are generally called a “Easter Fire”.
The origins of decorating eggs with colour is not so clear, but it is known that in ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome and Persia eggs did get dyed for the festivals in spring. In medieval Europe, decorated eggs were also given as gifts during Easter.
Easter is soon here, for many this is a time to get with family, for children it is time to eat egg shaped chocolates and to look for them. Easter is a great time to rest from going to school or work which people love. Easter happens to be also a great time to enjoy sweets, making this holiday for those with a sweet tooth absolutely fantastic.