A Little Bit of Easter History | Guest Post

40 Days of Easter | Day 2

My father-in-law, George Calhoun, is a pastor at Milton SDB church in Milton, WI.  He’s my go-to for all sorts of Bible and faith questions simply because he is so knowledgable.  I love his faith and his Biblical knowledge and wisdom.  I thought perhaps I should share a little with you 🙂 Papa Calhoun wrote this response below to my blog post yesterday How did Easter Become About Eggs and Bunnies? I thought it was awesome so I asked him if I could post what he wrote for a guest blog post today.

A Little Bit of Easter History

by Pastor George Calhoun

Quite a few pagan cultures hold celebrations in the spring. It’s the time of year when plants return to life after being dormant all winter and when animals mate and procreate. These festivities celebrate the renewal of life and promote the fertility of crops, animals, and even people, which was important in these agrarian communities. The Saxons believed in a maiden goddess of fertility named Eastre or Eostre (Oestre in Latin) and honored her with a spring festival. Hares and rabbits were considered sacred to Eastre because they are notoriously fertile animals. 

In the second century A.D., Christian missionaries tried to convert northern European tribes. To help make Christianity attractive, the missionaries turned pagan festivals into Christian holidays. The pagan Eastre festival occurred around the same time as the Christian celebration marking Christ’s resurrection so the two celebrations blended into one, rabbit and all. Over time, Eastre became Easter, and the symbolism changed as well.