By Tricia Szirom
Before Judaism and Christianity people worshiped a Goddess, the Great Earth Mother. Across the world She was celebrated at spring time in the guise of the goddess Ostara or Eostre
As the Roman Empire spread across the world and converted people to Christianity many pagan rituals of conquered peoples were adapted in an effort to help convert them. This worked as a strategy and was successful in Anglo Celtic countries around Easter.
One of the many adaptations was the adaptation of the spring festivals which celebrated Oestara with the joy that comes with the new life and abundance of that season, Ēostre is variously depicted by scholars as a fertility goddess and a goddess of dawn and light. The dawn connection could explain a linguistic link between Ēostre and the word “east.”
Many of the pagan customs associated with the celebration of spring eventually became absorbed within Christianity as symbols of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
For example, eggs which were a symbol of new life and associated with the Goddess as giver of abundance, became associated with the resurrection and the rebirth of Jesus.
Hares were also associated with fertility and were symbols linked to Eostre. Later they became the Easter Bunny.
And Hot Cross Buns were referred to in the Old Testament and Cakes to the Queen of Heaven’ a sweet bun with a cross like symbol on top.Life continues over centuries and old symbols and traditions adapt to new ways and so to the symbols and traditions of early civilisations were absorbed into new ones.