- Carolyn Costin
Ever wonder where the celebration of Easter comes from and why eggs and bunnies are a part of it?
For starters, Easter is the time of the spring equinox and both equinoxes and solstices have been celebrated since ancient times as important, sacred transitions in nature.
The spring equinox is when daylight and darkness have come back into balance, demonstrating the emergence from winter. This was a time for celebrating warmer weather, renewal and new life.
Following the advent of Christianity, Easter became associated with Christ and the resurrection because Jesus gained “new life” after death. In fact, many of the pagan customs associated with the celebration of spring in the northern hemisphere eventually became absorbed within Christianity. Eggs have long been a symbol of fertility, renewal, life and new birth. In the Middle Ages people began decorating eggs and eating them following mass on Easter Sunday after fasting through Lent. Due to their ability to procreate and proliferate, rabbits have also long been symbols of fertility and new life and were linked to the Anglo-Saxon pagan goddess, Eostre, who was associated with spring or renewal. It is from “Eostre” that we get the word “Easter.”
The date for Easter changes a bit each year because in 325AD the church decided that Easter should fall on the Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox. That is why Easter festivities are often referred to as "moveable feasts.
Whatever your Easter rituals or spiritual beliefs are, take some time to be thankful for renewal, new beginnings, and the life force you can see sprouting and blooming all around.