March 23, 2008

Easter Tales

I told you, Dear Reader, that I would give you the true history of Easter. A little late in the coming I know, but the Easter Bunny was a bit busy making sure Easter would be good for my kids.
There are two predominant tales (no pun intended) associated with the Easter Bunny and it’s origins. The first is a very basic story of the Easter tradition and its rabbit (a hare in legend).

The name Easter itself came from a Goddess named Eastre (also known as Oestre or Ostara), who was the Goddess of dawn and spring. Of course she was a fertility Goddess and she brought the end of winter and the brighter, happier days of spring. The animal most often associated with Eastre was the rabbit, because of its rapid reproductive rate.
Easter eggs and the Easter Bunny were featured in the Pagan holidays of Eastre, originally held during feasts of the Goddess Ishtar. The eggs were used in the celebration for their obvious representation of fertility and new life.
The Pagan worshippers painted the eggs in bright colors to show their appreciation for what Eastre had provided them.
The next tale holds the same general beliefs, but is a bit more detailed in its telling. The Goddess Easter came late one spring, in order to make up for this she decided to save the life of a bird frozen in the snow.
Eastre made the bird her pet and, feeling bad for his inability to fly because of his entrapment, made him into a hare, named Lepus. She also bestowed on him the ability to run fast, so that he could avoid hunters. Finally she gave him the gift of being able to lay eggs, not the usual eggs but brightly colored eggs.
The only catch was the Lepus could only lay these eggs once a year, on the day that Eastre is now celebrated. Those are the two most predominant tales I could find on the internet and the most popular.
There are a few more things associated with Easter and the Easter Bunny, but wherever you look you find the same general ideas. There is the Pagan belief in Ostara (Eastre) and the Easter associated with Christ and his resurrection.
All tales and traditions take you down one path or the other.
That’s all for now, I’ve got my own little hares to take to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. But however you celebrate this wonderful spring holiday, best wishes and Happy Easter.