You may think that the bunny is a symbol of Easter because its date hops around like one. You may be correct as my research is also a little hippety-hop.
The date of Easter seems to be connected to two things – the vernal equinox and the Sunday following the next full moon. The vernal equinox is always March 21, therefore, Easter may fall between March 22 and April 25.
The pagan fertility goddess Eostre or Eastur or various spellings came from the ancient word for spring – eastre. This correlation with spring celebrations criss- crosses many faiths. The ancient Zoroastrians in Iran were the first to present decorated eggs.
Eastern Christians connect Mary Magdalene with the first colored eggs. They believe she brought hard cooked eggs for the other women who came to the tomb and that they miraculously turned red at the rolled away stone.
Some say that plovers – birds who nest on the ground – took over nests of hares and thus was the rabbit and egg correlation hatched.
Others say that it the cycle of the hare – 28 days – co-existing with the lunar cycle that gives it the Easter connection.
Spring – rebirth – life renewed – whether Christian or not – were always celebrated. For those of us who are Christian, I think it is important to remember that although we may lay claim to Christ, we cannot own spring or its symbology. It is only natural that we should marry customs and traditions. I say this because some people have a hard time accepting that intimate Christian traditions may have taken root from a source other than Christianity. But I think it doesn’t matter – as long as it has meaning for you.
Of course it seems a little odd that we date Easter by a lunar event. But again we must remember that Christ was Jewish and the tradition of Passover and the Sabbath as were regarded by the Jews played a role in his Crucifixion – it had to be finished before sunset. So it is because of this that we can fix a date to Easter that is the most likely one.
The date for Christ’s birth isn’t so well recorded, nor was it likely to have been in December. But again, it is the symbology that is reverent in celebrating his life – birth or rebirth after resurrection.
Whenever or whatever you celebrate – I hope it gives you joy and peace and that we can see the light of a higher consciousness in all whom we meet today and throughout the spring.
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