This public service announcement is to remind you that Easter has little to nothing to do with Jesus, but is based on the pagan festival of the goddess Eostre. The festival of birth and rebirth dovetailed enough with the myth of Jesus’ resurrection that the Church was able to say, “hey, look at this coincidence! you’ve been celebrating Jesus!” Eggs and hares, are, of course, symbols of fertility.
I think it would actually be wonderful if the Church had just tied in Jesus’ resurrection with spring, like the myths of the Egyptians they stole it from. If they’d just said, “Jesus rose from the dead because it was spring, and the world was born again,” that would be a lot more magical and hopeful than separating man and the narrative from the nature it should be tied in with. Disconnecting Jesus from the earth is, to me, a mistake.
Actually, learning about Easter is one of the top five things that killed my attachment to the Christian religion. I grew up with Christianity, despite not going to church. It goes along with growing up in Oak Bay, in a British community. But when I realized how historically inaccurate Easter really was, it really wrecked my blind faith. And one of the reasons I find it easier to accept the tenets of Judaism and follow that side of my heritage is because it’s got a little more accuracy than Christianity.
However, in the spirit of my non-Jewish, pagan European ancestors, happy Easter, everyone! Go outside and celebrate spring! It’s not terribly warm in Los Angeles today, but the air still has that soft texture to it that it does in April in the Northwest. If you live by the ocean, you can smell the effect the increased sunshine and warmth has on the seaweed and plankton. And I bet the world is beautiful, no matter where you are. Everything is coming back to life, which, really, is what Easter is all about. That bit about Jesus coming back to life? You can believe that or not – but the earth itself is resurrected, and there’s no amount of mythology or human rhetoric than can influence how you want to feel about that.