Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Easter ~ April 2007

One of the best things about starting our 'own' family is the opportunity to create new traditions & celebrations. What is important to us, what festivals & cultures do we want to honour?

Easter was a tricky one. In our childhoods Easter was considered a christian celebration marking the crucifixion & resurrection of Jesus. We were gifted with ridiculous amount of chocolate eggs & visited by a sly bunny in the night who left even more chocolate eggs. The church service that week was grim & frightening. Repent your sins or spend eternity in the fiery gates of hell.. not so cheery, but here have a chocolate!

A little digging uncovers older tales of the Easter tradition ~
Easter, a Christian festival, embodies many pre-Christian traditions. The origin of its name is unknown. Scholars, however, accepting the derivation proposed by the 8th-century English scholar St. Bede, believe it probably comes from Eastre, the Anglo-Saxon name of a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility, to whom was dedicated a month corresponding to April. Her festival was celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox; traditions associated with the festival survive in the Easter rabbit, a symbol of fertility, and in colored easter eggs, originally painted with bright colors to represent the sunlight of spring, and used in Easter-egg rolling contests
 or given as gifts. Eastre (or "Ostara"), the Anglo-Saxon Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility was often accompanied by a hare when represented. The fertile nature of rabbits and hares is another symbol of new life and the rebirth that occurs during the spring season.

Also, German settlers in America are said to have brought over the tradition of a bunny named "Oschter Haws" who would visit houses on Easter eve, leaving colored eggs for children. Easter eggs were painted different colors to represent the sunlight of spring. Christians later used eggs to symbolize the rebirth of Christ.

Another Easter tradition is the eating of Hot Cross Buns. These cakes were marked by the Saxons to honor Eastre, the fertility goddess. The crosses 

on the buns are said to represent the moon's quarters, while Christians see the cross as a reference to the crucifixtion.Such festivals, and the stories and legends that explain their origin, were common in ancient religions. A Greek legend tells of the return of Persephone, daughter of Demeter, goddess of the earth, from the underworld to the light of day; her return symbolized to the ancient Greeks the resurrection of life in the spring after the desolation of winter. Many ancient peoples shared similar legends. The Phrygians believed that their omnipotent deity went to sleep at the time of the winter solstice, and they performed ceremonies with music and dancing at the spring equinox to awaken him.

An article from Funk & Wagnalls® New

 Encyclopedia. © 2005 World Almanac Education 

Group, A WRC Media Company

Being a festival originating in the northern hemisphere it occurs at the beginning of spring. A time of renewal, growth, awakening. Here in Australia it occurs at the beginning of Autumn. A time of slowing down & retreating in for the winter. Deciduous plants are loosing their leaves & others are going dormant for the winter rest. 

So what does that mean for us? 

After a little chat with the Autumn faeries it was agreed they would pass a message on to this Easter bunny to bring us not chocolates, but bulbs. Bulbs to be planted in the ground with a blessing & a wish. For safety, health & hope through the winter & for joy & abundance in the spring as they push through the ground & stretch their little heads up towards the warm sun. 

And so it was. The bunny brought the bulbs & left them in the garden. Little M found the basket & promptly shoved a few in his mouth. Then into the garden they went. A delightful morning had by all. So many great pics this post has a part 2!