Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Religion

The story of Easter; a compilation of perspectives

07 Apr 2023 at 11:50hrs | Views
Image by Nicky ❤️🌿🐞🌿❤️ from Pixabay
Easter actually originated as an ancient pagan celebration of the spring equinox. In Christianity, the day was dedicated to observing the resurrection of Jesus Christ, celebrated around the time of the Jewish Passover.

According to an article by Christmas Central, the Easter traditions we enjoy today come from a blend of Christian themes and ancient pagan celebrations, though we tend to see more of the latter. Easter decorations such as eggs, bunnies, and sweets are all pagan trappings.

Take for example the Easter egg which is one of the most recognizable symbols associated with Easter. This symbol can be traced back to the Ancient Babylonians, who believed an egg fell from heaven into the Euphrates River, and "hatched" the goddess of fertility, Astarte (also known as Ashtur, Ishtar, and, yes, Easter).

Bard supports the ideology already stated that links the Easter egg with ancient Babylon. According to him there is some evidence to suggest that the Easter bunny and eggs may have originated in ancient Babylon. The Babylonians worshipped the goddess Ishtar, who was associated with fertility and new life. Eggs were also a symbol of fertility in ancient Babylon, and they were often decorated and given as gifts during the spring equinox, a time when Easter is now celebrated in.

His explanation for the decoration of the Eggs however slightly differs, however is still linked to the Babylonians. "The tradition of decorating eggs for Easter is thought to have originated in Europe in the 13th century". Bard goes on to explain the notable "Easter Bunny's" origins dating them back to Germany in the 16th century.

Therefore it is rather universal that The association between eggs and fertility, and the worship of the goddess Ishtar, all played a role in the development of these traditions regardless of other emerging perspectives.

Easter-observing Christians commonly refer to the week before Easter as Holy Week, which in Western Christianity begins on Palm Sunday (marking the entrance of Jesus in Jerusalem), includes Spy Wednesday (on which the betrayal of Jesus is mourned), and contains the days of the Easter Triduum including Maundy Thursday, commemorating the Maundy and Last Supper, as well as Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus.

In Eastern Christianity, the same days and events are commemorated with the names of days all starting with "Holy" or "Holy and Great"; and Easter itself might be called "Great and Holy Pascha", "Easter Sunday", "Pascha" or "Sunday of Pascha". In Western Christianity, Eastertide, or the Easter Season, begins on Easter Sunday and lasts seven weeks, ending with the coming of the 50th day, Pentecost Sunday. In Eastern Christianity, the Paschal season ends with Pentecost as well, but the leave-taking of the Great Feast of Pascha is on the 39th day, the day before the Feast of the Ascension.

Wikipedia defines the English term as derived from the Saxon spring festival Ēostre; Easter is also linked to the Jewish Passover by its name (Hebrew: פֶּסַח pesach, Aramaic: פָּסחָא pascha are the basis of the term Pascha), by its origin (according to the synoptic Gospels, both the crucifixion and the resurrection took place during the week of Passover) and by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar. In most European languages, both the Christian Easter and the Jewish Passover are called by the same name; and in the older English versions of the Bible, as well, the term Easter was used to translate Passover.

Easter customs vary across the Christian world, and include sunrise services, midnight vigils, exclamations and exchanges of Paschal greetings, clipping the church (England), and decoration and the communal breaking of Easter eggs (a symbol of the empty tomb). The Easter lily, a symbol of the resurrection in Western Christianity, traditionally decorates the chancel area of churches on this day and for the rest of Eastertide.

 Additional customs that have become associated with Easter and are observed by both Christians and some non-Christians include Easter parades, communal dancing (Eastern Europe), the Easter Bunny and there are also traditional Easter foods that vary by region and culture.

Source - Online
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.