Easter for pagans

Easter in Australia has always been noted by religious observances and traditions. I dare say that in Australia today, no matter your country of origin, no matter whether you are Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Baha’i, that somewhere over Easter you will enjoy an Easter egg, or a piece of hot cross bun, or honey cakes.

It’s quite a contradiction isn’t it, how some young Jewish bloke who ran foul of the law for sedition and died for his crime could end up being equated with chocolate eggs, fluffy bunnies and fruit buns. He ended up crucified, and we ended up with the chocolate.

I therefore thought that I would skip the entire issue and write about the other Easter, the pagan one.

Let’s start with the name Easter. According to Old Venerable himself, St. Bede, (672-735 CE), and I am certain that he wouldn’t mind me using this familiarity; in his book De Ratione Temporum he noted that Easter was named after Eostre. Eostre was the Great Mother Goddess of the Saxon people. There are a number of variations, but all are derived from the ancient word for Spring.

One thing that you can say about the early religions, and this is that they were pragmatists; we don’t have an occasion for a religious celebration, so we’ll just borrow yours. Rebirth, the coming of the Northern Hemisphere Spring coinciding with the resurrection of saviours being popular.

Here is a quote:

Spring is in the air! Flowers and bunnies decorate the home. Father helps the children paint beautiful designs on eggs dyed in various colors. These eggs, which will later be hidden and searched for, are placed into lovely, seasonal baskets. The wonderful aroma of buns baking in the oven waft through the house. Forty days of abstaining from special foods will finally end the next day. The whole family picks out their Sunday best to wear to the next morning’s sunrise worship service to celebrate the savior’s resurrection and the renewal of life. It will be a thrilling day.

The above is a description of an ancient Babylonian family 2,000BC honouring the resurrection of the god Tammuz, who was brought back from the underworld by his mother/lover Ishtar after whom the festival was named. Ishtar being a derivation of Eostre.

Christianity found many converts, and why not given that their religion was based almost entirely on preceding religions, many of which were pagan.

The fertility symbols associated with Spring are obvious, bunnies and eggs. And this is why Easter always falls at the time of the Northern Hemisphere Spring Equinox. It’s very little to do with Christianity, but all to do with our pagan ancestors.

But what better way to celebrate, than to bite the head off the bunny goddess, go nekid to a pagan fertility rite, get yourself a slice of toasted hot cross bun, or honey cake and enjoy the holiday.

From the crew at the Café, Happy Eostre, Ishtar or Easter.

Thank you to Bob R. of Hawaii for the pic. This is of course of Easter Island.

60 comments on “Easter for pagans

  1. Thanks Min. I just never got it. Spring-rebirth. All back to front on the other hemisphere. Tonight there is a full moon.

  2. Pingback: Happy Easter | I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

  3. Have a happy holiday.

    isn’t it a crazy time. because the shops will be closed for 1 day, the supermarkets were incredibly busy. then the roads, the rush to get on the way.

    easter as a kid was weird. my family were not religious, but come good friday, the traditional dinner was poached smoked haddock, with the white sauce. why oh why?

  4. My family was religious Sue, but we were just as likely to have meat & 3 veges for dinner on Good Friday. I think it probably has more to do with family traditions than religion. Our Easter tradition that has grown over the years, is to all go to my Mum’s place on Easter Sunday for a BBQ lunch.

    My nephew commented some years back that it didn’t seem like Easter unless we were all at “Grandma’s” for Easter. Guess who won’t be there for lunch this year 🙂 (to be fair, he’s working) He and his wife will be there for dinner though…

    Happy Eostre, Ishtar or Easter to all the Whisperers, whatever your family traditions may be…

  5. Bacchus

    when i was about 16 my elder brother brought home to dinner his catholic girlfriend, she didn’t/wouldn’t eat haddock. she asked if mum would cook her a lamb chop, there endeth my haddock dinners.

  6. yep – doesn’t surprise Sue. Most of those I’ve heard of who insist on fish on Good Friday aren’t religious. Maybe it started as a way of “respecting” the supposed traditions of the religious, even though those traditions were no longer observed by them…

  7. ….and thanks to Ben Pobjie for reminding me of the true meaning of Easter:

    It is in fact a solemn and sacred holiday, founded to commemorate the time that God sacrificed himself to himself in order to placate his own bloodlust, and it is the profound nature of this sacrifice that has made it the most holy and confusing occasion on the Christian calendar.


  8. wmmbb..nice to see you here. Given that we have Xmas trees with snow in Summer, equivalent that we have Eoster/Spring in Autumn. 😉

  9. Is anyone as bored as I am by the whole Xmas, Easter consumerism, we have Xmas starting in October and Easter starting in January. It seems that the whole world revolves around chocolate which I can’t eat anyway.

  10. Pip, too late. You were caught in action..however I promise that the reprints will be distributed to only a select group of friends.

  11. Min, umm, if you wouldn’t mind, I’d like to see them first…
    [they might need a little photoshopping].

  12. Pip, a woman with a good English nose is an indication of being highly sexed and sexy. And I dare anyone to argue to the contrary…

  13. jane, what is coming up behind is worse. That is if one could be nastier than what is on the shadow frontbench.

    Brains seem to be a little light on as well.

  14. My Easter used to always consist of holidays to Beech Forest in the Otway Ranges.

    My parents were not religious at all, but never ate meat on Friday. Why fish wasn’t meat never did make much sense to me, however that’s what it was..fish on Friday. I think that it might have been my mum’s way of getting a day off from cooking as fish in Hawthorn meant a trip to Joe’s Fish & Chip shop in Glenferrie Road. Joe was a Greek with a good crop of hair, but with a substantial receding hair line. My father used to always have a pickled onion from one of the chemist like jars which sat on the shelf.

    My treat was a deep fried pineapple ring in brown sugar.

  15. I’ve always preferred Druids to Micks mesel’ …

    I do feel a bit sorry for my Bosnian born, Moslem, neighbour’s, three, Australian, born little girls – all under six – no easter eggs! We’re very good friends, so I might just “fix” that! 😀

    Happy Easter Holiday … from this well worn agnostic …

  16. I’ve just happened upon this blog on Twitter 🙂


    Melbourne Australia Good Friday 6 April 2012

    Is anyone really interested in the views of a 72-year-old woman who was born deaf, became a paraplegic mid-TV career, experienced an instantaneous healing, produced four children in five years, worked with tribal Aboriginal women in Alice Springs and set up a community Arts Centre in Melbourne?

    Who knows?

    There’s only one way to find out! I’m passionate, care fiercely and shall lay it all before you in the coming weeks…and let you be the judge!

    Not the other Nancy Cato, author, who died in 2000. this Nancy is her cousin. {wikipedia]

    I had trouble posting a comment for reasons best known to blogspot

  17. Same problem Pip. Trying to sign on via WordPress, Nancy’s site came up with a notice that I don’t own (my) identity.

  18. Min,
    Good post…interesting isn’t it how many religions share myths? Amazing how many see them as fact…rather than the allegories and such that they are.


    A reminder:

    Pat Boone:

    On August 29, 2009, Boone wrote an article comparing liberals to cancer, describing them as “black filthy cells”.

    In December 2009, Boone agreed to endorse the conservative U.S. congressional candidate John Wayne Tucker (R) for his campaign in Missouri’s 3rd Congressional District against incumbent Russ Carnahan (D) for the 2010 mid term elections.

    In 2009, Boone stated his belief that Barack Obama is not eligible to serve as the President of the United States.

    Boone also has stated that Barack Obama is fluent in Arabic and read the Koran in Arabic as a boy.

    He has also stated that President Obama “hasn’t celebrated any Christian holidays in the White House.”

    Boone received a lifetime achievement award at the 38th annual Conservative Political Action Conference held in February 2011.



    I don’t celebrate Easter…tho it was fun as a kid running around like an athlete on steroids searching for painted eggs and chocs…thnx to my wonderful Gran and Grandad Murray…who knew how to make a child’s time magical and full of mystery & games…lighting up curiosity.

    And I do dig this song:

  19. Jane,
    Pat Boone can speak politics all he likes…but it goes to show that owning a golden singing voice does not necessarily prevent one from crapping out of the wrong orifice now and then.


  20. Message from Migs in the USA. He asked me if I would extend Easter greetings to one and all at the Café on his behalf.

  21. Merry Meet and Happy (w)Ish(s)tar, Cafe-goers. (For fertile-imaginary purposes, mine nekid-I shall be a silver-lined cloud clad in sky…at apparent magnitude +37, please and thank-you, Min.)

  22. Meta..for fertile imaginary purposes..now that is a subject on it’s own.

    With wishes that where you are that the clime is salubrious so as to minimise the chill factor regarding the nekid factor. Happy Ishtar to you too.

  23. Being a bit sick and tired of the usual cynics..I thought to play this one, just for fun..yeah baby, somewhere beyond the sea..

  24. I just have to add this pic, courtesy of Bob R* of Hawaii. Bob is a long time fan of the Café..unfortunately the pic does not have a link so..look up people, to the bottom of the topic. I think it’s kinda cute. 🙂

  25. LOVO, and the same to you..you are cordially invited to the next nekid pagan bonfire..or failing that a Café soiree, when Migs finally tells me where he’s hidden the keys to cellar. 😉

  26. Just a last note from me. I think that if I was to explain things, then the phrase “beyond expectations” comes to mind. The unusual, the unexpected, that which makes the heart soar.

    This does not have to be intellectual, nor even original, just spoken from the heart.

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