Sitting down for a family meal, filled with the joys of Easter and the hope that comes with new beginnings. But what does Easter actually mean?
The word Easter comes from the Saxon word, Eastra, the goddess of spring, in whose honour sacrifices were made at this time each year. However, even though people generally agree that Easter has pagan roots, its actual origins are cause for debate.
According to the theory, Eastre was the goddess of the east. Her symbol, a hare, was that of fertility. However, this theory causes problems as there is no actual evidence that Eastre was worshipped by any civilisation. Her name is mentioned in the writings of an eighth-century monk and historian, Bede, but after that there is no reference to her in any historical documents, with no shrines or altars in existence.
So, although many assert that Easter is rooted in pagan festivals and sacrifices, this assumption is not backed up with any evidence. Instead, the only Easter custom that differs from the Christian traditions is the commercialised focus on Easter eggs.
But the damage is done. Because of the commercialisation and possible pagan origins of Easter, many churches prefer to call it ‘Resurrection Sunday’. They seem to hope that moving the focus from Easter to Christ will save people from the temptations of chocolate.
Christians celebrate Easter as the resurrection of Christ, three days after His crucifixion. It is the oldest Christian holiday, preceded by the season of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting and repentence, followed by a 50-day period between Easter and Pentecost.
In the end, the answer is that no one knows where Easter comes from, and it’s up to each individual to decide what it means for them. For some, this might mean a time for celebrating Christ rising from the grave, and for others, Easter is simply a time to be thankful for new life and new beginnings.
Take a walk. Revel in the beauty of the nature. And enjoy yourselves, however you decide to spend this day.