Have you ever wondered why we celebrate Easter? While I am not a religious person by any means, I would like to explain to my little darling that Easter has more meaning than chocolate. So I did a little research and found out a few interesting facts.
Why we celebrate during this time
Long before Christianity, people mapped their whole life according to the patterns of nature. Easter actually began as a pagan festival celebrating spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the arrival of the spring equinox where the amount of dark and the amount of daylight is exactly identical, meaning that the frosty winter is coming to an end. Trust me after living in Russia this is definitely worth celebrating!
There are two different calendars for Easter
Usually there is a short gap between Anglo-Saxon Easter and Russian/Orthodox Easter due to the difference between the Gregorian and Julian calendars, this year however Easter, Orthodox Easter and the Jewish Passover holiday all happen at the same time. Yay!
Where does the name come from?
In most countries in Europe, the name for Easter is derived from the Jewish festival of Passover. In Greece and Russia the feast is called Pascha, in Italian and Spanish Pasqua, in Danish it is Paaske, and in French it is Paques.
In English-speaking countries, and in Germany, Easter takes its name from a pagan goddess called Eostre, who was a goddess of spring or renewal and that's why her feast is attached to the spring equinox. In Germany the festival is called Ostern, and the goddess is called Ostara.
What about the eggs?
As for Easter Eggs, this was also originally a pagan custom that was absorbed into Christianity. Eggs are a symbol of new life, which aligned perfectly with the Christian belief of the resurrection of Jesus. In the middle ages people decorated and consumed hens eggs, which we still do as part of Orthodox tradition. I hope to be more organised next year though.
No matter what your religious belief, this holiday is a precious time for us all to cool our jets, relax and enjoy so much needed time with our loved ones. It’s also one of the only times of the year when it’s totally acceptable to eat chocolate for breakfast and if you have little ones.... join in the magic of make believe. Have a wonderful Easter! 🐰🐣 🍫