What do bunnies, flowers and eggs have to do with the resurrection of Jesus?
Here's a quick overview of the origins of Easter
Spring is all about the "resurrection" of life in the natural world. Plants come alive, animals give birth, and everything awakens to the light after the darkness of winter. This month the Christian world will celebrate Easter, so I thought I'd share a few fun Easter facts:
. The word "Easter" is derived from the name of a Norse goddess called Eastre or Ostara
. Eggs, rabbits and pastel colors (the colors of spring flowers) are symbols of fertility.
. Eggs were sacred to many ancient civilizations. Dyed eggs were hung in Egyptian temples, and used as amulets for fertility and prosperity. Today, many in the Eastern Orthodox Church dye eggs red to represent the blood of the sacrificed Christ.
. The Easter sunrise service can be traced to the ancient Pagan custom of welcoming the Sun God at the vernal equinox.
. Jewish Passover customs are rooted in ancient agricultural rituals, and include eggs, along with salt to represent the earth and a lamb symbolizing newborn life. The sacrificial lamb eventually became affiliated with Jesus.
This Spring, consider creating a personal rebirth ritual. What would you like to heal, release or create in the coming year? Perhaps you might write these things on a piece paper and bury it in your garden among the emerging plants and seeds, where your intention can grow!
Here at the Death Awareness Institute, we believe it is important for those who study death, bereavement and the afterlife to be familiar with the cultural and religious influences that impact our understanding of death and beyond. This is why theological discourse has become a popular feature at our annual Afterlife Conference, and this year we are honored to have as our keynote speaker, Bishop John Shelby Spong, one of the most outspoken and powerful voices for progressive spirituality in the world today. Click HERE for a brief video of Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong discussing the origins of Easter and the historicity of what scholars call "The Easter Experience."