Friday, April 10, 2009

Easter - A Time of Renewal and Rebirth

Read a great article by Peg Aloi called "You Call It Easter, We Call It Ostara" here. It discusses the connections between Christian rituals and Pagan rituals and how they have influenced each other. Happy Easter!

Relevant Snippets From the Web:

The name of Ostara's (Eostra's) festival was transferred to the celebration of Christ's resurrection when Anglo-Saxon and German heathens converted to Christianity. Thus, unlike other European cultures, English and German Christians still attach the name of a heathen goddess to their most sacred holiday: Easter or Ostern. In other European languages the holiday's name is based on the Hebrew word "pasah," to pass over, thus reflecting the Christian holiday's Biblical connection with the Jewish Passover. [Link]

According to the Venerable Bede, Eostre was the Saxon version of the Germanic goddess Ostara. Her feast day was held on the full moon following the vernal equinox -- almost the identical calculation as for the Christian Easter in the west. One delightful legend associated with Eostre was that she found an injured bird on the ground one winter. To save its life, she transformed it into a hare. But "the transformation was not a complete one. The bird took the appearance of a hare but retained the ability to lay eggs...the hare would decorate these eggs and leave them as gifts to Eostre." [Full article]

OSTARA - Goddess of Spring

Ostara is the Anglo-Saxon Goddess of Spring. Her other name is "Eostre" - meaning "movement towards the rising sun." She is celebrated on March 21st at the Spring Equinox, when days are brighter and growing longer. She points the way to Beltane, the great and joyous festival of coming Summer.

Ostara is a fertility Goddess, the northern counterpart of Astarte and Ishtar. She is associated with the Moon Hare or rabbit, with eggs, Dawn, and the East - all symbolizing her primary qualities of bringing birth, rebirth and renewal to a winter-weary world.

In modern times, we have transformed Ostara's sacred rabbits and eggs into the secular Easter bunny, and colored and chocolate Easter eggs that delight children and grownups alike. Ostara's deep femininity is reflected in the fact that our word for the female hormone, estrogen, is derived from her name. [Link]

No comments:

Post a Comment