This morning many of us started texting each other, Happy Easter!, and as I responded, I added a series of emojis to add appropriate good humor to the day’s festivity. As I looked closely at the emojis I had to laugh at how conflicting it all was to the serious message that Easter had been to me as a kid having been raised as a Catholic in the 60’s. (I will add that I am a recovering Catholic – no offense to any devout practicing Catholics out there!). Bunnies, baby chicks, colored eggs, Easter baskets??!! Where did all of this come from when I was taught Easter had to do with Christ rising from the dead 2 days after his crucifixion on Good Friday. What gives?
I had read a little bit about it before, but I had to look this up again to understand why I was texting images of baby chicks peeping their teeny little yellow heads out of half-cracked eggs, and adorable fluffy bunnies delivering chocolate eggs wrapped in elaborate colorfully designed foil (mixed in with glasses of wine, whiskey and beer to toast this lovely albeit confusing holiday). These are some of the things I found:
“The word Easter might have derived from a springtime Anglo-Saxon fertility goddess called Eastre whose symbolism included the hare, the moon, and eggs. Easter is steeped in the symbolism of cycle of the sun, which rises in the East, and which in spring ushers the natural world to life. In the Northern Hemisphere, the spring equinox occurs on the 21st of March when the length of the day increases until it is equal to the length of the night. The sun, growing in power, finally overtakes darkness, and this solar rebirth is celebrated in most ancient pagan religions, where agricultural life depended on the growth of spring. The other symbol of ancient solar superstition was the moon; and even today, Christians still celebrate their version of Easter on the first Sunday on or after the first Full Moon after the March equinox, tying Easter to its historical pagan roots. The images of Easter include two of the most ancient and universal symbols of birth, nature, fertility, life, and rebirth: the egg and the rabbit.
The beloved chocolate egg has now come to be the ubiquitous and central image of Easter and the Easter holidays. It has been given cosmic significance, representing the birth and rebirth of many gods and powerful spiritual beings, on account of its link to life and fertility. The Easter Bunny can often be seen delivering (and hiding) them, reminding us that Easter is a pagan, sun-worshipping festival.”
All I can say is that it is symbolic of spring, new life, new beginnings and the promise of things to come after a winter hibernation, literally and figuratively. Every year I make some decisions to adjust certain things in my life that aren’t working or focus more on things that are. Perhaps I start something I’ve always wanted to do or purge items no longer of any use. I use the time over the winter to ponder the ideas, test, poke and prod them, eventually choosing “a” path to take. I don’t want to over-think which direction, just choose a direction. If winter is the choosing, then spring is the starting gun…Go! Move forward – at least I have chosen a direction and am going. The joy is in the journey, not the destination.
One of the biggest things to have changed my perspective is to see things through my grandson Joseph’s eyes. What a gift to see life through eyes that witness everything they see as wonderous and exciting! That is a reminder of new life and springtime that I am ever grateful for and what I will toast to this Easter. Oh… and he is the CUTEST little guy on the planet, so that ties in with the little bunnies and the peeps and stuff. ??
Happy Easter, everyone!