It's common knowledge that Easter is a Christian celebration of Christ's rising, but this holiday also has pagan origins. Where did the colored eggs, cute little bunnies, baby chicks, leg of lamb dinners, and lilies come from? They are all symbols of rebirth and the lamb was a traditional religious sacrifice.
Easter falls in the spring, the yearly time of renewal, when the earth renews itself after a long, cold winter. The word Easter comes to us from the Norsemen's Eostur, Eastar, Ostara, and Ostar, and the pagan goddess Eostre, all of which involve the season of the growing sun and new birth. The Easter Bunny arose originally as a symbol of fertility, due to the rapid reproduction habits of the hare and rabbit.
Long hard winters often meant little food, and a fresh egg for Easter was quite a prize. So you can understand why this full moon was often referred to as the Egg Moon. Later, Christians abstained from eating meat during the Lenten season prior to Easter. Easter was the first chance to enjoy eggs and meat after the long abstinence.
The egg is nature's perfect package. It has, during the span of history, represented mystery, magic, medicine, food and omen. The egg represents the rebirth of the earth. The long, hard winter is over; the earth burst forth and is reborn just as the egg miraculously burst forth with life. The egg, therefore, is believed to have special powers. It was buried under the foundations of buildings to ward off evil; pregnant young Roman women carried an egg on their persons to foretell the sex of their unborn children; French brides stepped upon an egg before crossing the threshold of their new homes.
It is the universal symbol of Spring celebrations throughout the world and has been dyed, painted, adorned and embellished in the celebration of its special symbolism.
Traditionally, the eggs were marked with brilliant colors along with various types of bands drawn upon them which represented the cycles of life, death, and rebirth.
Other symbols representing the triple Goddess, the Sun, and such shapes as triangles, squares, circles, and dots can usually be found. The drawing of special signs upon a symbolic object as with the eggs is a form of magic, as is done when creating a talisman or amulet.
Now you understand why eggs are colored at this time of year.
Many condemn pagan traditions and yet so much of what is celebrated stems from these traditions. People are often surprised when I tell them that Native Americans are pagan in origin. The Native American traditions are about celebrating The Creator and creation.
Easter marks a fresh new beginning. It brings with it the energy of revival and an opportunity to renew. It is like coming out of a dark tunnel into the light.
It is a reminder that life "conquered" death. May you feel the beauty and tranquility of this Holy time. Wishing you, and those you love, the blessings of a glorious Easter!
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