Thursday, April 8, 2010
Learning more about Easter....
Active NOSHA member, Robert Carver, got his letter published in the Houma newspaper and it has caused a stir IF you are NOSHA Google Group member. Decide for yourself!
Easter practices based in paganism
I read the stories in the paper about Good Friday with interest especially the one about the reenactment in Dulac. The faithful in these reenactments are fascinating since they are commemorating a mythical event as if it were a historical fact. Easter was celebrated long before Christianity co-opted the holiday. Many modern Christians are ignorant of the Pagan origins of their faith. They act as if the story of Jesus becoming the resurrected Christ was unique in history which leads them to conclude this myth must be the literal historical truth. Their belief is misguided as even a cursory examination of history clearly shows how the early Church created and evolved this myth.
The word Easter itself is likely derived from Eostre, the Saxon mother goddess, whose name in turn was adapted from Eastre, an ancient word for spring. The Norse equivalent of Eostre was the goddess Ostara, whose symbols were an egg and a hare, both denoting fertility. Festivals honoring these goddesses were celebrated on or around the vernal equinox, and even today, when Easter has supposedly been Christianized, the date of the holiday falls according to rather pagan reckonings, i.e. on the Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox.
Throughout recorded history the focus of spring religious festivals was a god whose own death and rebirth symbolized the death and rebirth of life during this time of the year. Many pagan religions had gods who were depicted as dying and being reborn. In some legends this god even descends into the underworld to challenge the forces there. Attis, consort of the Phrygian fertility goddess Cybele, was more popular than most.
Attis was simply the latest manifestation of earlier resurrection myths, like those of Osiris, Orpheus, Tammuz and Dionysus, who were likewise said to have been born of virgins and resurrected three days after their deaths. In areas where Christian beliefs later took hold, these already existing tales were grafted onto the story of Christ, and continue to be retold to this day as evidenced by those who “recreate” this myth this Easter in our region. They have every right to practice their faith thanks to the Separation Between Church and State enshrined in the Bill of Rights even if said faith has no basis in reality.