|Image by ginqueen of deviantart.|
Growing up, Easter was always a bizarre holiday for me because it always seemed the most removed from the Christian lore it was supposedly celebrating. I could see the symbolism behind gift-exchanges at Christmas. Santa is basically Jesus Lite, a sort of starter Jesus with consequences easier for kids to grok. I didn't understand how rabbits and eggs related to Jesus, especially since rabbits and eggs don't even relate to each other. Where the hell did the Easter Bunny come into all of this?
It wasn't until I was in college that I actually learned a little bit more about the history of Christianity and how the Christians retrofitted a lot of Pagan holidays to help convert the natives over to the new beliefs. Christmas was an amalgamation of several different holidays, including a Pagan winter celebration and the celebration of the god Mithra.
Easter was largely adopted from the Pagan holiday celebrating the spring equinox. The pagan goddess Eostre is where Easter gets its name (aka, Ostara). The imagery of the bunny, the egg, and dawn, are all images that are associated with the spring equinox (and Easter) because they symbolize birth, fertility, and new beginnings, which provided the Christians with a prime way of segueing the Pagans from one religion to another without losing a lot of the stuff they already knew.
I've actually been invited to a Pagan celebration of the spring equinox by a couple of friends. It'll certainly be an interesting experience, and I'm likely to have fun, even if I don't share their beliefs.
I'm a firm believer in everyone doing their own thing. Whenever I hear about people fighting about their religion, it makes me weary. Most people are only looking for a little respectfulness and politeness. I try to extend that to my fellow human beings. I mean, I don't immediately spew bile and vitriol on people because they like Nickelback or the Star Wars prequels (although good natured teasing may occur). Why would I do that for something people hold so near and dear to their hearts and lives as religion?
So, regardless of your belief systems, happy springtime.
And now to leave you with where I got the name of this post: a celebration of springtime, germany, and Hitler (from the 2005 movie The Producers). And yes, the blonde man is John Barrowman from Doctor Who and Torchwood.