Imagine being someone way long ago before there was TV or newspapers or even books and you’d just lived through a cold, dark miserable winter. There’s no central heating and you’ve been out of logs for your fire for weeks. Your food stores are down to their last two potatoes.
And then the snow and ice starts to melt! “Woo-hooo!” you and everybody else shouts. “We will not perish in the endless cold. The sacrifices we have made to the Goddess Eastre have been accepted and she is granting us new life! All hail Eastre!”
The Babylonians called her Ishtar.
The earthy symbol for the goddesses of fertility was the rabbit because rabbits are so incredibly fertile.
It wasn’t just the ancient Saxons and Babylonians who celebrated the return of spring with weeks of debauchery and celebration. Every culture in all parts of the world for as long as we have records have celebrated this vernal re-birth.
The renewal of life; fertility of crops, the mating and procreating of animals, sunshine, warmth, asparagus – what’s not to love?
It wasn’t until the 4th Century that Christians decided to co-opt the festival and make it part of their mythology. Until then Christians observed Passover. Christians jumped on the Easter bandwagon because they were hot to convert all the pagans and it was just easier to pretend the whole spring thing was part of Christianity than it was to try and force pagans to stop being happy in spring.
The weekend around here promises to be pretty nice and I hope it will be wherever you are, too. And, even if you’re just happy to have 3 or 4 days off after this long stretch without a holiday – enjoy!