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Origins of The Easter Tradition

The term Easter,,which pertains to the well known holiday nowadays, is an expression which no longer bears its original meaning.

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The term Easter,,which pertains to the well known holiday nowadays, is an expression which no longer bears its original meaning. This word originated from the name of a pagan goddess, Estre -the goddess of the rising light of day and spring. Thus, “Easter” is just a newer form of Astarte, Ostera, Eostre, or Ishtar.  According to Hislop, it is the latter which the pronunciation of “Easter” today is derived.

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Many Easter traditions had their origins among secular beliefs. Easter eggs, for instance, are painted, hid, hunted, and consumed -a tradition done today for the sake of innocent fun, especially for kids. Yet, anciently, it was another story.

The egg was a sacred symbol of the Babylonians.  It was based on an allegorical tale about a tremendous sized egg which fell from heaven into the Euphrates River.   According to this ancient story, it is from this egg that the goddess Astarte (Easter) came from. Thus, the egg became symbolic of her.

The egg was also a sacred symbol of the ancient Druids in connection with their talismans and Druidic rituals.  In Rome, the parade of Ceres was preceded by an egg carried by a priestess as a symbol of new life. In the mysteries of Bacchus an egg was a sanctified symbol in ceremonies. China also used colored eggs in sacred festivals as a symbol of fertility. In Japanese have an ancient tradition of making the sacred egg a brazen color. In northern Europe, in ancient times, eggs were painted and became symbol of the spring goddess. Here are two examples showing ways the pagans typified their sacred eggs.

The Egg of Heliopolis

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“The Orphic Egg in the Ancient Greek Orphic tradition is the cosmic egg from which hatched the primordial hermaphroditic deityPhanes/Protogonus (variously equated also with Zeus, Pan, Metis, Eros, Erikepaios and Bromius) who in turn created the other gods. The egg is often depicted with a serpent wound about it.”   -WIkipedia

…and the Typhon’s Egg, which is also called the cosmic egg, bearing mythical origins. The ancient Egyptians associated the golden egg with the sun. They dyed the eggs to be used as sacred offerings.

The egg was clearly used as a fertility symbol and of regeneration of life.  This belief dates back to the ancient Persians and Egyptians, who had also the tradition of coloring and eating eggs on their spring festival.”

Where did the use of the egg come into the picture, hence becoming associated with the present tradition as the Easter egg is known today?  It was Pope Paul V (1605-1621) who decreed a prayer saying. “Bless, O Lord, we beseech thee, this thy creature of eggs, that it may become wholesome sustenance unto thy servants, eating it in remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  It is basically analogizing that as the chick hatched out of the egg, so Jesus came out of the tomb.  Perhaps it was done in the effort to conform religion to the well known ritualistic symbols of the ancient peoples. 

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