A rite of spring

Easter is Christianity’s rite of spring. It is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, but even before Jesus lived on this earth another culture celebrated a re-birth.

The Egyptians worshipped many gods, but the two they celebrated in the springtime were Isis and Osiris. Each represented a part of nature. Isis was the land, mother-earth. Osiris was the river, the fertilizer. Their union each spring when the Nile flooded the land, brought the birth of crops, food, a gift from the gods.

The celebrations Easter and that of Isis and Osiris are close in symbolism. Osiris and his followers battle his enemies and during the struggle Seth, a leader of a foe, kills Osiris. The body of Osiris is entombed and after several days of mourning, his followers slay Seth and Osiris is restored to life and the celebration of re-birth begins.

The ancient Anglo Saxons had a goddess of spring too. She was called Eostre and her name may be the derivation of our word Easter.

The Easter bunny too has its origin in pre-Christian fertility lore. Because rabbits are prolific breeders, the rabbit and the Hare became symbols of new life in the spring season. Happy Easter.

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