Drats! The Christians took all the fun out of Easter.
It's an ancient pagan festival. The Spring Equinox. A seasonal event. It celebrated the day all the fun things about this yearly event occur. Easter bunnies are a leftover. Eostre was a pagan goddess whose symbol was a rabbit or hare. Easter eggs are also an ancient custom celebrated by many cultures. Hot cross buns are ancient, too. That's a cute story: early Christian leaders tried to put a stop to this tradition but-in the end-cake-baking women wouldn't cave so they gave up and blessed the goodie. Don't you just love defiant women?
Israelites baked sweet buns for an idol-leave it to the Hebrews-beats matzo balls, which I love, but which are not particularly festive.
Even better, dancing, drinking, feasting, noise-making and love-making had been the usual ways in which humans celebrated occasions of communal happiness. Ever since prehistoric times human kind has spent energy on the turning of the seasons. Spent the strongest of these human emotions on spring-a time when the earth is freed from winter and the days grow long-with joyous, sometimes lascivious human behavior-which overcome the powers of darkness. I'll drink to that.
By the way, in those times it was a goddess, Inanna, or Ishtar, who was hanged naked on a stake and then resurrected. Well, at least we got out of that mess.
Another cute story: a cult called Cybele flourished on today's Vatican Hill. Cybele had a lover, Attis, who was born of a virgin, died and was reborn annually. This festival began as a day of blood on Black Friday-which reared its ugly head for three days- after which everybody rejoiced the resurrection. This caused some pretty violent conflicts-Christian versus pagan-as to which story was the true story. Ring any bells? They're still at it. Whose god is the head honcho? Whose fairy tale is the real one?
An aside: as a devout non believer, I always wondered how it happened that awful Friday became Good Friday. Sounds like a perfectly terrible way to spend a Friday to me.
Eventually Christians accommodated the pagan Spring festival. The goddess prevailed. Love goddesses. Miss'em.
Also, did you know, there's no celebration of Easter in the New Testament? The patriarchs, once again, gave in. Today most Christians celebrate a "sunrise service" at Easter. A historical pagan celebration but governed by the phases of the moon. Strange how myths begin, evolve and change. Darwinian? I don't know.
Actually, the spring Equinox is essentially related to fertility and a balance of night and day. Hey, some people celebrate with bonfires and jumpin' over dying embers which is believed to assure fertility of people and crops.
I think the world was a much more fun place when god was a woman. Or at least shared the stage. There were girl gods and boy gods, a family, very egalitarian. They were always up to shenanigans. It was a time of celestial giddiness. No great lumbering, bellicose, dim-witted psychopath ran the show. What do you think?
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James "Kimo" Rosen's