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Eostre, Ostara, and Easter!

Today is Easter. Billions of Christians celebrate this day in remembrance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. A look at the history and origins of Easter may enlighten you. It may surprise you to know that Easter has a deeply pagan history. Many of the popular Easter traditions have pagan origins and have little to no connections to Christianity.

From the dawn of humankind, we have been celebrating the changing of seasons. Contemporary incarnations celebrated by modern pagans today are Yule – Winter Solstice, Ostara – Spring Equinox, Litha (or Midsummer) – Summer Solstice, and Mabon – Autumn Equinox. Our thoughts today will be directed towards Ostara. This year Ostara fell on March 20th. The onset of spring represented a time of rebirth. The festivities associated with Ostara included great bonfires and sword dancing as they paid tribute to Eostre, the Germanic goddess of dawn, light, fertility, and rebirth.

Eostre’s sacred animal is a white rabbit and the egg is a symbol of fertile purity. Thus, the association with rabbits and Easter egg hunts in the modern Christian celebration. Now the question truly is, how in the world did these pagan celebrations and rituals come to be found in the Christian faith?

The year was 596 A.D. Pope Gregory the Great arranged for a special mission to Britain. Its purpose? To permanently intermix the pagan traditions of the Anglo-Saxons with Christina ones to make the transition to Christianity more palatable. So, the orders were to initially embrace these pagan traditions and to carefully add in Christian influences so that these pagans would accept Jesus Christ as their lord and savior. These missionaries created the holiday Easter and incorporated pagan traditions. Over time, the goddess Eostre was essentially erased from the holiday and replaced with Jesus and the story of the resurrection of Jesus after his death on the cross.

I know what you are thinking. No way!! Do the research. Ostara, Eostre, Easter, the Easter rabbit, Easter eggs, etc. The more you know . . .

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