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Easter Folklore,

Origin and History


Easter the Oldest Celebrated Holiday in the World
By: Tippy & Alfred

Easter, unlike the modern thinking about Easter, which is
that a bunny of unknown origin lays eggs, paints them and
hides them around for children to find, Easter was
originally a Catholic holiday that was declared as and was
supposed to be a Christian holiday celebrating the
resurrection of Christ Jesus on the third day after his
Crucifixion. Others believe that the Easter holiday is
intended to celebrate Passover. This is in fact incorrect.
Easter is the primary holiday celebrated by Christians the
world over and the Sabbath and Christmas are second and

Easter is probably one of the oldest celebrated holidays in
the world; it just hasn't always gone under that name. It is
in fact the Catholic Church that dubbed the celebration of
this all important holiday Easter, and in fact moved the
date to converge with Hebrew and Pagan holidays so that when
the celebration was held it was held by all folk. But
because of this, pagan symbols worked their way into the
holiday, hence the rabbit and the eggs, which in ancient
religions symbolized fertility.

Some historians have researched the origin of the name and
believe that it derives from ancient Norsemen dialect
"Eostur" or "Ostar" or "Eastar" meaning "season of the
growing sun" or "season of new birth." But the name "Easter"
has also be proscribed to an old goddess of Teutonic
mythology. St. Bede, an eighth century English historian,
traced the name back to a goddess named Eostre or Eastre of
Anglo-Saxon origin. She was the goddess of Spring and the
whole month of April was dedicated to her. Interestingly,
her symbol was the hare.

The time of the year on which the Easter holiday falls is
also the time of the celebration of the Vernal Equinox -
that is, the official starting point of Spring and when days
begin to get longer. On the Vernal Equinox the day and night
are both the exact same length. No matter what the opinion
of the origins of the Easter name, all historians agree that
the holiday celebrates the East and the rising sun or "son".

In the Hebrew tradition this time period is in fact the
celebration of Passover or Nisan. When Moses was to lead the
Jewish people out of Egypt he told them to slaughter a lamb
and put its blood on the doorjambs of their houses so that
the angel of death would not enter their homes and take
their first born sons. They obeyed, and unlike the
unfortunate Egyptians, their children were preserved. That
was the last plague visited on the Egyptians before the
Hebrews were released from Egypt. April is also the first
month of the Hebrew lunar year. This holiday celebrates the
release of the Jewish people after three hundred years of
bondage to the Egyptians.

It was during the time of Passover that Jesus was crucified
by Pontius Pilate the Roman governor, at the insistence of
the jealous Jewish priests. Thus the resurrection of Jesus
is celebrated three days after the date supposed as the
anniversary of Jesus' crucifixion, and named Easter Sunday.
Early Christians phased in this new facet of the Passover
(Pascha) in to commemorate Jesus' gift to us all and the
fulfillment of what the prophets foretold of the Messiah and
his advent. In the fourth century Good Friday became a
separate holiday unto itself in the Christian observance
calendar, and the resurrection was celebrated on Sunday in
honor of Jesus resurrection.

It is also during this time that the pagan holiday of the
Rites of Spring on the Vernal Equinox is celebrated. This
was a brilliant move by the Catholic Church to get people to
join the church and break from pagan tradition and still be
able to celebrate their beliefs. Pagans during that time
celebrated the return of the Sun God which was an easy shift
for them to then believe in the resurrection of the Son of
God who saved them from our sins and death.

There was a split between the Eastern and Western Churches
about when exactly to hold the Easter celebration. The
Eastern Church believed that the 14th, which is the
celebration of the feast of Nisan, should be the official
Easter holiday. Whereas the Western Church believed that the
Easter feast should always be observed on a Sunday no matter
the date. This conundrum was not solved until 325 AD when
the Emperor Constantine and the Council of Nicaea ruled that
Easter should fall on the day of the first full moon after
the Vernal Equinox, making March 21 the perfect date for the
Vernal Equinox.

Now the holiday moves about between March 21 and April 25
according to when the Full Moon is scheduled to occur. Some
churches today still hold the Celebration of Easter on March
fourteenth on the same day as Nisan. Preparation for the
holiday usually starts on Ash Wednesday which marks the
beginning of Lent. Lent is the Catholic Holy week of fasting
and penitence which ends with the celebration of the
Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Easter Sunrise Celebrations

The origins of the Celtic Spring holiday is based on the
reemergence of the sun and the daylight hours getting
longer, which meant a great deal to the ancient people who
had no way to reliably tell time. Superstitions abounded and
some peoples believed that the sun would never come back -
much like the traditional fables of modern day Alaskan
people and other peoples that live far to the north. The
priests of the Celts, (the Druids), performed Spring Rites
that celebrated the return of the sun. It was actually St.
Patrick who blended the Spring fire rites of the Celts and
the Easter holiday and allowed the people of Ireland to
celebrate the Easter bonfire so that the break from their
original pagan holiday wasn't so harsh.

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By: Tippy & Alfred

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