The Real Story of Easter
By Dr Tricia Szirom
The term 'Easter' is not of Christian origin - it was derived from the Anglo-Saxon 'Eostre,' the name of the goddess of spring. In her honour sacrifices were offered at the time of the vernal equinox. There is also some thought that ‘Easter’ is another form of Astarte or Ishtar, one of the titles of the Chaldean goddess, the Queen of Heaven. In either case it is clear that what we know as Easter, and most of the associated traditions, came from much older traditions where a female deity was the focus.
Easter was not considered a 'Christian' festival until the fourth century. Early Christians celebrated Passover on the 14th day of what was then the first month of the year; study of the dates on which Easter is celebrated will reveal that the celebration of Easter is not observed in accordance with the prescribed time for the observance of Passover.
I have collected below a number of texts which talk about the early Goddess worshiping traditions which were deliberately adopted and adapted into the Christian tradition as a way of ensuring that pagan celebrations no longer diverted the people. By ‘christianising’ these celebrations the original source was no longer so attractive. This was a political strategy to win the hearts and minds of the then Roman Empire.
The Name for Easter
The English word Easter is derived from the names 'Eostre' - 'Eastre' - 'Astarte' or 'Ashtaroth'. Astarte was introduced into the British Isles by the Druids and is just another name for Beltis or Ishtar of the Chaldeans and Babylonians. The book of Judges records that 'the children of Israel did evil ...in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim, and Ashtaroth, ...and forsook the Lord, and served not Him.' Easter is just another name for Ashteroth 'The Queen of Heaven.'
History records that spring festivals in honor of the pagan fertility goddesses and the events associated with them were celebrated at the time that became 'Easter'. The pagan festival originated as the worship of the sun goddess, the Babylonian Queen of Heaven who was later worshipped under many names including Ishtar, Cybele, Idaea Mater (the Great Mother), or Astarte for whom the celebration of Easter is named. Easter is not another name for the Feast of Passover and is not celebrated at the Biblically prescribed time for Passover. This pagan festival was supposedly 'Christianized' several hundred years after Christ.
Adoption and Adaption by the Christian Church
In the year 399 A.D. the Theodosian Code attempted to remove the pagan connotation from those events and banned their observance.
About the end of the sixth century, the first decisive attempt was made to enforce the observance of the new calendar. It was in Britain that the first attempt was made in this way; and here the attempt met with vigorous resistance. The difference, in point of time, between the Christian Pasch, as observed in Britain by the native Christians, and the Pagan Easter enforced by Rome, at the time of its enforcement, was a whole month; and it was only by violence and bloodshed, at last, that the Festival of the Anglo-Saxon or Chaldean goddess came to supersede that which had been held in honour of Christ." [The Two Babylons (Or The Papal Worship), Alexander Hislop, 1916, Neptune, NJ, Loizeaux Brothers, Inc., p.107]
After much debate, the Nicaean council of 325 A.D. decreed that 'Easter' should be celebrated on the first Sunday after the vernal equinox. Why was so much debate necessary if 'Easter' was a tradition passed down from the Apostles? The answer is that it was not an Apostolic institution, but, an invention of man! They had to make up some rules. (Richard Rives, Too Long in the Sun)
By the 8th century the term ‘Easter’ came to be applied to the anniversary of Christ's “resurrection." (International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, edited by Geoffrey Bromiley, Vol 2 of 4, p.6, article: Easter)
In ancient Anglo-Saxon myth, Ostara is the personification of the rising sun. In that capacity she is associated with the spring and is considered to be a fertility goddess. She is the friend of all children, and to amuse them, she changed her pet bird into a rabbit. This rabbit brought forth brightly colored eggs, which the goddess gave to the children as gifts. From her name and rites the festival of Easter is derived. Ostara is identical to the Greek Eos and the Roman Aurora. (Encyclopedia Mythica, article: Ostara)
The Easter Egg
Just as many Christian customs and similar observance had their origin in pre-Christian times, so, too most of the popular traditions of.... Easter date back to ancient nature rites... The origin of the Easter egg is based on the fertility lore of the Indo-European races...
In northern Europe, Eostre, the Teutonic-Anglo-Saxon goddess of dawn, evolved from Astarte in Babylon and from Ishtar from Assyria. Eggs, dyed blood-red and rolled in the newly sown soil at spring equinox, ensured fertility of the fields.
Eggs were hung up in the Egyptian temples as the emblem of generative life, proceeding from the mouth of the great god of Egypt. The mystic egg of Babylon, hatching the Venus Ishtar, fell from heaven to the Euphrates. Dyed eggs were sacred spring offerings in Egypt, as they are still in China and Europe. Spring, was the season of birth, terrestrial and celestial. (James Bonwick, Egyptian Belief and Modern Thought, pp. 211-212)
"...the egg as a symbol of fertility and of renewed life goes back to the ancient Egyptians and Persians, who had also the custom of colouring and eating eggs during their spring festival." (Encylopaedia Britannica, article: Easter)
"Eggs were sacred to many ancient civilizations and formed an integral part of religious ceremonies in Egypt and the Orient. Dyed eggs were hung in Egyptian temples, and the egg was regarded as the emblem of regenerative life proceeding from the mouth of the great Egyptian god." (Anon, Easter: The Pagan Origins of Common Easter Traditions)
"The egg has become a popular Easter symbol...In ancient Egypt and Persia, friends exchanged decorated eggs at the spring equinox, the beginning of their New Year. These eggs were a symbol of fertility for them....Christians of the Near East adopted this tradition, and the Easter egg became a religious symbol. It represented the tomb from which Jesus came forth to new life." (Greg Dues, Catholic Customs and Traditions, 1992, p.101)
The ancient Druids had an egg as the sacred emblem of their order. In the Dionysiaca, or mysteries of Bacchus, as celebrated in Athens, one part of the nocturnal ceremony consisted in the consecration of an egg. The Hindu fables celebrate their mundane egg as of a golden colour. The people of Japan also have a ritual that involves a sacred egg. In China, dyed or painted eggs are used on sacred festivals. In ancient times eggs were used in the religious rites of the Egyptians and the Greeks, and were hung up for mystic purposed in their temples. From Egypt these sacred eggs can be traced to the banks of the Euphrates. The classic poets are full of the fable of the mystic egg of the Babylonians; and thus its tale is told by Hyginus, the Egyptian, the learned keeper of the Palatine library at Rome, in the time of Augustus.
An egg of wondrous size is said to have fallen from heaven into the river Euphrates. The fish rolled it to the bank, w here the doves settled on it, and hatched it, out came Venus, who afterwards was called the Syrian Goddess'--that is, Astarte. Hence the egg became one of the symbols of Astarte or Easter; and accordingly, in Cyprus, one of the chosen seats of the worship of Venus, or Astarte, the egg of wondrous size was represented on a grand scale." [The Two Babylons (Or The Papal Worship) , Alexander Hislop, 1916, Neptune, NJ, Loizeaux Brothers, Inc., pp.108-109]
The Easter Bunny
The Moon Hare, sacred animal totem of Eostre, laid more colored eggs for children to find. From the name, Eostre, Astarte, and Ishtar, we derive the scientific terminology for the female hormone and reproduction cycle: estrogen and estrus. Easter also derives from Eostre." (D. Henes, Celestially Auspicious Occasions: Seasons, Cycles and Celebrations, New York: Perigee Book)
The Easter bunny had its origin in pre-Christian fertility lore although it was a hare that was associated with the fertility goddesses. Hares and rabbits were the most fertile animals our forefathers knew, serving as symbols of ... new life in the spring season." (Jesuit author Francis X. Weiser, The Easter Book, pp.15,181,&188)
"The Easter hare was no ordinary animal, but a sacred companion of the old goddess of spring, Eostre." (Julian Fox, Easter, Vero Beach: Rourke Enterprises, 1989, p.11)
"Like the Easter egg, the Easter hare, now an accepted part of the traditional Easter story, came to Christianity from antiquity. The hare is associated with the moon in the legends of ancient Egypt and other peoples." (Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol 7. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 1955, p.859)
"The hare, the symbol of fertility in ancient Egypt, a symbol that was kept later in Europe, is not found in North America. Its place is taken by the Easter rabbit, the symbol of fertility and periodicity both human and lunar, accredited with laying eggs in nests prepared for it at Easter or with hiding them away for children to find." (The New Encyclopædia Britannica, 15th ed. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 1992, p.333)
Hot Cross Buns
Hot cross buns, which are now solely associated with the Christian Good Friday, are traceable to the remotest period of pagan history. Anglo-Saxon people consumed cakes as a part of the festivals that welcomed the welcoming of spring. The early missionaries from Rome despaired of stopping this tradition, and finally got around the difficulty by blessing the cakes and drawing a cross on them. (Marguerite Ickis, The Book of Religious Holidays and Celebrations, New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1966)
Even before this time Buns were used in the worship of the Queen of Heaven, the goddess Ishtar, as early as the days of Cecrops, the founder of Athens--that is, 1500 years before the Christian era. One variety of sacred bread offered to the goddess, was called a ‘Boun’ and was made of fine flour and honey.
The prophet Jeremiah (Old Testament) condemned this offering when he said, 'The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven.' The hot cross buns are not now offered to the Goddess Astarte, but eaten, on the on Good Friday. However there is no doubt as to they origins of this tradition. [The Two Babylons, Alexander Hislop, 1916, Neptune, NJ, Loizeaux Brothers, Inc]
The cakes offered to the Goddess had imprinted on them a pair of horns, symbolic of the ox at the sacrifice of which they were offered on the altar, or of the horned moon goddess, the equivalent of Ishtar of the Assyro-Babylonians. The Greeks offered such sacred cakes to Astarte [Easter] and other divinities. This cake they called bous (ox), in allusion to the ox-symbol marked on it, it is suggested that the word 'bun' is derived from this.
Like the Greeks, the Romans ate cross-bread at public sacrifices, such bread being usually purchased at the doors of the temple and taken in with them, (a custom alluded to by St. Paul in I Cor. x.28). At Herculaneum two small loaves about 5 in. in diameter, and plainly marked with a cross, were found.
The boun with its Greek cross became akin to the Eucharistic bread or cross-marked wafers mentioned in St. Chrysostom's liturgy. In the medieval church, buns made from the dough for the consecrated Host were to be distributed to the communicants after mass on Easter Sunday. In France and other Catholic countries, such blessed bread is still given in the churches to communicants who have a long journey before they can break their fast." (Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th ed., article: "bun")
The cross-bread was eaten by the pagan Saxons in honor of Oestre, the goddess of light. The Mexicans and Peruvians are shown to have had a similar custom. The custom, in fact, was practically universal, and the early church adroitly adopted the pagan practice, grafting it on to the Eucharist.
Ave Maria ~ Beyonce
She was lost in so many different ways
Out in the darkness with no guide
I know the cost of a losing hand
Never for the grace of god oh I
I found heaven on earth
You were my last my first
And then i hear this voice inside
I've been alone
When i'm surrounded by friends
How could the silence be so loud
But i still go home knowing that i've got you
There's only us when the lights go down
You are my heaven on earth
You are my hunger my thirst
I always hear this voice inside
Saying ave maria
Sometimes love can come and pass you by
While your busy making plans
Suddenly hit you and then you realize
It's out of your hands baby you got to understand
You are my heaven on earth
You are my last my first
And then i hear this voice inside
Lyrics provided by Kovideo