It would be a rare person that does not know the reason behind the celebration of Easter in the western world. Good Friday marks the death of Jesus on the cross, while Easter Sunday marks his rising from death. Although many do not necessarily believe that Jesus is the risen son of God, few would not acknowledge that this was the reason for the Christian world to celebrate. But why do we celebrate it when we do? And, what many don’t know, is where many of the symbols of Easter actually come from.
The first site I would like to share with you is from the Australian ABC. It is a transcript from a radio broadcast by Penny Travers entitled Origin of Easter: From pagan festivals and Christianity to bunnies and chocolate eggs. It explains briefly but succinctly both the Christian and pagan elements of the season. It tells how the period for the commemoration was chosen by early Christians and explains how and why it is a moveable feast. A good starting place, I think.
An article that I think is more informative, however, is an article entitled The Ancient Pagan Origins of Easter, written by April Holloway. Importantly, it does not dismiss Christian beliefs but informs readers about how, just like Christmas, the traditions of Easter, like bunnies and Easter eggs, are a link to our pagan past. I think that this well-written article shows that remembering our ancient past does not disrespect our modern beliefs but, in fact, adds light and shade to them.
I wish for each and every one of you a happy time this Easter. May you spend it with loved ones and find your peace and joy, regardless of your belief system.