Commercialism, celebration, confectionary or claptrap?
But let’s put all that aside for the time being…..
So, just what is Easter all about and where did it come from?
Easter’s origins are ancient, by Western time measurement, beginning in prehistoric (before written records) times. It probably began as a Pagan or rural festival celebrating the arrival of Spring and new life. Pagans believed that many gods existed in nature; this was widespread throughout Europe and many other diverse cultures around the world for aeons.
A convenient and frequent practice of Christian religions was to embed or overlay old traditions with biblical and Christian festivals.
So, rather than re-inventing the calendrical wheel, Christians changed the characters, plot and meaning of old celebrations. Jesus resurrected fitted well into symbolism associated with the end of winter and arrival of new life…..more on this later…..
The name ‘Easter’, was derived from the name of the Pagan goddess Eostre. It became the most significant event in the Christian calendar.
Eggs, rabbits and more recently, bilbies, came much later but echoed the sentiments of fresh life, cuteness and gift giving. Chocolate eggs began production in the 19th century and are now more popular than Paganism, Christianity and painted chicken eggs!
The domination of cultures across the world by Christianity account for the popularity of Easter which, if you are curious - not just superstitious - has some significance because of its original connection to…. Christ… or Jesus, as he was known as a human.
Some Theology to ponder on as you munch through your chocolate egg stash!
The birth, death and re-birth of Jesus is the hinge upon which all Christian beliefs hang and which distinguish them from the numerous other religions.
Briefly, this is the story; God chose to manifest as a human being in the form of a man, Jesus. He was born on earth as a fully conscious human: that is, he completely understood that the origin and meaning of everything visible and invisible was simply love. So God loved everything into being, including Jesus.
However, in order that Jesus could fully manifest God, he had to live and die as a human; this was so that all the other humans could relate to, and understand, how much God loved them. The tricky part is that God was Jesus in human form but God needed to experience what it was like to be a human including living and suffering and dying, just like us.
So he did.
As a human he physically died and completed the whole experience of being human, but because he was actually God, he was re-born again – got resurrected – and in that moment its true nature, love, became infused into the entire universe. And Jesus became Jesus Christ which is another way of saying the little human man Jesus became the perfect man Christ.
And that’s why Easter is so important to Christians. It’s commemorating the event when God became a human, lived and died as a human and then went back into God again.
It’s a strange story but it’s been around for a long time!
However, on earth, we are a race of a multitude of beliefs, cultures, and religions…
So, regardless of your beliefs about Easter…
let’s make it a time to enjoy… perhaps in solitude,
perhaps with family,
perhaps remembering and celebrating your beliefs or perhaps simply sharing goodies…!
perhaps wondering why, in the face of a peculiar idea, we have decided to comfort ourselves with wonderfully sweet things…!
Have a peaceful, safe and enjoyable time over Easter…
Joshua Ledger Counsellor