Sunshine & Fertility

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!

28 responses to “Sunshine & Fertility

  1. Christians did the same with Christmas (*cough Yule*). Sneaky buggers! LOL.

    Have a great Easter XUP! I’m hoping the Easter bunny will visit us and give me lots of candy and chocolate. (Yes, I’m 28, and I still look forward to Easter baskets. LOL)

  2. I think you have overlooked the most important reason for celebrating the returning warm weather.
    Without heat it’s nearly impossible to eat solid chocolate it’s like a rock.
    So the spring brings warmth, and the warmth brings rabbits, and the rabbits bring chocolate that can be eaten.

  3. Hannah – They really are sneaky, aren’t they? Writing up a bunch of rules and crazy stories pilfered from all sorts of other places and then pretending “god” wrote it all and especially for them. Sheesh. Good luck with the chocolate.

    Bandobras – I like my chocolate hard as a rock. I always put it in the fridge or even freezer before eating it.

    Jazz – Eggs are another sign of fertility. We can’t have chickens bringing the eggs though because that would be like a mother dropping off her babies on people’s doorsteps and that sends entirely the wrong message to young children. And chocolate is distributed at Easter for the same reasons it’s distributed on every other possible occasion – it’s the childhood equivalent of alcohol. Adults whoop it up with booze; kids whoop it up with chocolate. Sometimes the lines get blurred and we indulge in cross-generational whooping-up materials.

    Grouchy – I think I’ve explained everything Jazz or anyone else needs to know about Easter. These south park people use foul language and that’s not at all conducive to celebrating this holiest of holy days. But thank you for your contribution.

  4. “..even if you’re just happy to have 3 or 4 days off after this long stretch without a holiday – enjoy!”..

    BwaaHaaHaa – that was funny, I almost snorted my coffee!

    3 or 4 days off – that is a good one 🙂

  5. Of course you would like cold chocolate. You probably have it on cold toast and float cold marshmallows in cold chocolate drinks.
    Where are the church deacons when there’s some discipline needed.

  6. And if you live somewhere like Scotland where there is barely any daylight at all throughout the whole winter, you really understand the need (a) to get drunk in midwinter to cheer yourself up, hence Christmas and (b) to dance around and celebrate when the world warms up a bit. With chocolate, obviously.

  7. Lesley – OH NO! There’s something we don’t have in common?? You don’t like asparagus? Have you had it fresh cut, steamed with a little butter?

    Elliot – What sort of barbaric place do you work that you don’t get time off during this sacred weekend?

    Bandobras – You’re right! It’s some sort of pattern. Hmmm. I must have been traumatized by cooked food when I was a child.

    Loth – Do you live way up north in Scotland or something? I remember the Hamish Macbeth books talking about the lack of daylight, but I think they were way up north. I need a geography lesson. I know there are parts of Canada where it’s dark a lot in the winter. It’s been raining here for almost 2 weeks, so I was really surprised when I went out for my bus at 6:30 this morning and it was almost full daylight out — it had been nearly completely dark just yesterday.

  8. XUP –

    (putting on his best Macbeth tragic pose…)

    Queue stage left!!!

    Oh .. sorry…

    I is the the techy guy – major work that kills things gets done whenz youz lovely folks are home with kith & kin 🙂

  9. As soon as it’s Easter weekend, then I finally believe that Spring has arrived. It almost doesn’t matter what the actual weather is to me – though of course I’d prefer warmth and sun (better for the outdoor egg hunt, you see). I also come from the generation that had Easter holidays, not Spring Break at school, which is probably another reason that I always look forward to Easter. Have a nice long weekend!

  10. I can’t wait until Sunday to hunt around in our backyard for the asparagus that the large-breasted statue has hidden. Then we will roast our last two potatoes and frown upon Dustin Hoffman.

  11. Well, look at that. Entertaining and enlightening! Great stuff; thanks.

    I am the least organized-religious person alive. But I love asparagus. And tulips.

  12. That asparagus looks good enough to eat. 🙂

    Eastre is the root for the word estrogen too.

    I have always wondered why Easter was a moveable feast, and not celebrated on a set day, like Christmas, but instead follows the cycle of the moon (the root word for menstruation). But it shows the Pagan roots of Easter. I think we are more in touch with our Pagan roots than we realize.

    However you celebrate it, have a happy Easter, four-day weekend.

  13. Well, I hope you know that the evangelicals will probably boycott your blog after this post. Won’t you miss them? I’m with geewits, though I’d rather frown upon Warren Beatty. And I eat my chocolate from the freezer too.

  14. I thought Easter was when Jesus comes out of the cave and if he doesn’t see his shadow, 6 more weeks of winter.

  15. Elliott- That’s sad. I hope the Easter Bunny found you anyway.

    Pinklea – It’s really the first day(s) off that most of us get since Christmas. It was great, btw.

    Geewits – Dustin Hoffman? How did he get into this conversation? Oh, I know – Ishtar.

    Ellie- Asparagus is awesome, isn’t it? It’s the very first thing we get to eat from the garden. If we have a garden. And if we’ve planted asparagus some time ago. And it only lasts a few weeks. Magical.

    Jo – So Easter is a female celebration, eh? While Christmas with all its old man winter, Santa and wise men myths is a man’s celebration?

    Cedar – YES. Myth. Of course it all has some basis in history/reality, but the story has been told and retold so many times, translated, cut, edited, added to – that it has become a myth.

    Laura – I didn’t know I had any Evangelists reading the blog. But there’s nothing they can argue with – it’s all fact. Love chocolate from the freezer!

    Mayopie – Ya, I think that’s all part of it…but there are rabbits and chocolate involved as well. It’s very convoluted.

    Charlene – A day when you don’t learn something new is a day wasted. Why not waste some of it here, eh?

  16. That Ishtar statue has a nice rack.

    (Sorry, I coulldnt’ help but notice that over the asparagus!) 😉

  17. I have! Still blecccch. And my father LOVES asparagus. I guess I didn’t get that gene!

    And okay – seriously? What is with all these days in between posts?? You’re getting as bad as me!!! (ALRIGHT. That’s not true. That kind of insult was totally uncalled for.)

  18. Friar – Well, she IS a fertility goddess. Asparagus is pretty good, too, though.

    Cedar – Ya, when it comes to a question of beliefs and faith there’s really no point in arguing. You believe what you believe and I believe what I believe. Whatever works for you, I think.

    Lesley – It’s a freakin’ long weekend, woman. I had a zillion things to do. The weather was gorgeous; no work for 4 days. I just couldn’t bring myself to blog. I hope today’s post makes up for your disappointment and deprivation.