Why do Australians celebrate the most sacred annual event on the liturgical calendar with gifts of pagan origin?
Easter reportedly began in pagan times long before the Common Era. It’s believed it’s named for Eostre, a Teutonic goddess of the dawn whose annual festival took place on the vernal equinox, which is the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere.
Practising Christians revere Easter as a religious occasion that symbolically considers the death by crucifixion of the Christ and his resurrection. And you probably also know it doesn’t just last for the few days, we down tools for our 4-day holiday but it’s actually a season that begins on Easter Sunday and continues for seven full weeks.
Sadly, this year, regular church goers will need to leave the Easter bonnets and other finery mothballed. But, if you’d like to spiritually share the religious celebrations with others around the country, you might like to tune into the grand Easter services sure to be telecast live across the country.
Or, could be your family takes a more earthy approach – and loves to enjoy a leisurely, indulgent brunch munching on delicious hot cross buns slathered in spread? And, maybe – due to the cross – you fondly imagine that your culinary indiscretion is ‘pardoned’ by its perceived religious connotation?
Well, think again. Considered sacred food of the gods by the ancients, buns like these were offered as sacrifices by Egyptians and Saxons. However, the cross often represented – not the crucifixion that was yet to come – but a sign with the supernatural power to prevent sickness such as plagues. So, perhaps these pagan buns are not such a bad idea after all?
But then what about the Easter Bunny and the literal tonnes of chocolate that change hands on Easter Sunday? Well, both eggs and baby bunnies originally represented the end of the hard, cold winter in – and so represented a welcome symbol of new life and new beginnings to the druids and other nature worshippers.
Where the chocolate comes from is anybody’s guess. Could it be a new age celebration of consumerism?
No matter how you choose to celebrate, Easter is special. It reminds us that we live in a country where we are free to enjoy rich and diverse lives in one of the most miscellaneous national cultures of the world.
For the time being, the threat of pandemic has curtailed that. And of course, it’s sure to be playing havoc with the plans you once made for Easter 2020. Lockdown with all its fears and uncertainty is not a way any of us would have chosen to spend this break.
But we know our Windsor Group friends are optimistic, resourceful and creative. So, you are sure to find wonderful ways of enjoying your break and staying close, even when separated, from those you love. Be happy. Stay well. And live in hope. We’re looking forward to reconnecting when we all return, renewed and refreshed next week.