Easter – Origin and Customs
Table of Contents
The great Easter holiday, which all Christians celebrate toward the end of April. We all know the Easter eggs, the buns/bread and the liturgies, but what lies behind this whole ritual dedication.
Of course, the holiday has its history that has been passed down to modern times over the millennia.
In this study, pagan relationships are very interesting because they reveal a struggle between different factions and their gods. As an objective observer, it is difficult to describe who is wrong, who is right, but the development and mixing of different cults is very interesting.
There are 3 main aspects to be distinguished here: 1. The New Testament – the resurrection of Jesus; 2. The Old Testament is Pascha; 3. Paganistic connections from ancient religions.
In the Old Testament Bible, in the old King James Version, “Easter” occurs, but this is later corrected for incorrect translation. In fact, the correct term is “Passover” from Greek, which is a translation of “Pesach” – Hebrew “pass/ walk”, which refers to the Israelites leaving Egypt and their great passage under Yahweh’s guidance.
This can easily be verified through ancient Greek scrolls, Jewish scrolls, and even Aramaic scrolls, where another form of Pascha is mentioned – “pesah”.
Where does Easter come from – in English Easter (“east”), derived from modern-day Dutch ooster and German Ostern, derived from Old English Ēastrun, also Ēastru, – o; and Ēastre / Ēostre.
Ēostre is descended from the Proto-German Austrǭ, namely from the Proto-Indo-European root * h₂ews-, meaning “shine” and from it the goddess of dawn in Proto-Indo-European culture – Haéusōs.
In fact, the month of April was called Estre, or known as Ostara in honor of the goddess of the same name.
The modern neo-paganism, called the “Wicca”, splits the year with a wheel of 8 holidays. This “Annual Wheel” is a combination of several paganistic beliefs: the Anglo-Saxons worshiped equinoxes and solstices; the Celts revered the seasons; the Gauls’ beliefs about fertility in nature.
The Wicca movement was influenced by the scientific work of the Scottish anthropologist Sir George Fraser The Golden Bough (released 3 times in the period 1890-1915), his main thesis in the study of ancient pagan cults, is that ancient Western European pagans worshiped fertility holidays, and in his observations he suggests that man’s progress is through the order of: magic-religion-science.
Another major influence is the scientific work of the anthropologist Margaret Murray, who published from 1929 to 1968 – her thesis was that witches in the past were Western European pagan cults worshiping the horned deity (here the association and accusation of Satanism – “The Horn One”); suggests that by the 17th century there was a much older religion than Christianity and had its supporters throughout Western Europe and other points of interest.
Neo-paganism in Britain became a fact in the 1960s (after Margaret Murray’s last work) was called Wicca.
The eight holidays are:
- Yule – Winter solstice;
- Imbolc– In the beginning of February, the first strings of spring;
- Ostara – Vernal equinox;
- Beltane – The first day of summer in Ireland;
- Litha – Summer solstice;
- Lammas – Mostly agricultural holiday;
- Mabon – Autumn equinox;
- Samhain – celebration of the dead, tribute to the dead – Halloween.
Eostre/Astarte/Ostara – While the German and Nordic gods and goddesses are described in Poetic Edda, Estre / Estre / Ostara has no trace of the beliefs of these peoples as a goddess, except in The Reckoning of Time (Latin De temporum ratione), by Northumbrian monk Bede, a historian that recorded many historical documents around 700 AD.
The description of the Ostara is that it is a feast that is simply dead and is replaced by the Passover/Pascha or resurrection of Jesus.
Researchers associate Ostara with the goddess of dawn Haéusōs. The proto-Indo-European goddess Haéusōs is portrayed as a young female figure who is constantly reborn. In the Iliad it is ἠριγένεια (“early born”, “born in the morning”), and in the Rigveda describes Uṣas, daughter of Dyáuṣ Pitṛ́ (deity of Heaven -Uranus), born as having taken from Aśvins, the divine twin horses (associated with medicine) that pull the chariot of the Sun.
She is described as dancing in the Heavens. She is also interestingly described as wandering, disappearing into the mysterious island of “East House/Home”. In Greek myths, Ēṓs is described as living on the farthest shores of the Ocean; in the slavic perception Zoras/The Dawn , her home is in Boyan/Bujan (a mysterious island that appears and disappears with high tides), where the Sun also inhabits the breezy north, south and east winds.
Hausōs is also described as “opening the gates of Paradise”, this description will also be seen in the Sumerians, Akkads and Babylonians at Inanna/Ishtar; she is described as the “light bearer” who was punished or sacrificed but rescued by the twin horses. That myth will be seen in the tale of Lucifer.
Inanna/Ishtar – Inanna (Sumerian) or Ishtar (Akkadian), is the goddess of love and war. According to the Sumerian cosmogony:
Before the time began, there was only darkness and the goddess Nammu, the primary ocean. She gave birth to Anki, the Universe. They were Heaven and Earth in one. Anki gave birth to Enlil – The Air. Enlil divided his parents into Ann – Heaven, and Ki – Mother Earth.
He then created Nanna – the Moon, and Utu – the Sun.
The cuneiform image of the sky An is the eight-pointed star. Studies show that the name Nanna is not known where and how it derived from, despite the obvious an in the spelling – ???.
Interesting is the related sound between Nanna and Inanna, with Inanna presumably derived from nin-an-ak, or “Heavenly Lady”.
Historical records show that Inanna had no worship before Sargon and after him, and that she was not originally in the pantheon of the Sumerian gods, but of the Akkadian, Babylonian and Assyrian under the name Ishtar. Initially, Inanna and Ishtar are thought to be two different deities, but later they are equated, most likely when mixing cults.
After entering the Sumerian pantheon, Inanna was portraid with the eight-pointed star above her as “Heavenly Lady”, alongside Nanna and Utu, ie. Venus (planet), the Moon and the Sun.
Departure of Inanna/Ishtar in the Underworld – According to 2 legends with little difference between them, Inanna / Ishtar wants to go down to the Underworld with her sister – the Ruler Ereshkigal. In one legend Inanna was dressed in jewelry, and in the other she was simply in clothes, and when she gained access to the Underworld after persuading Enlil, Nanna, Anu, and Enki, if she did not return in 3 days to seek and rescue her; he has to go through 7 gates, and leave each one until he is left naked and killed (in the other version he is imprisoned and punished with 60 diseases).
In both versions, only one deity responds to her help (according to others, she deserves her own destiny) by sending a messenger to Ruler Ereshkigal. Inanna is enlivened through life-giving water. Her husband Dumuzi must replace her in the Underworld as she returns to Heaven; in the other version she goes through the 7 gates, getting her clothes through each one she passes.
According to contemporary researcher Clyde Hostetter, the interpretation of the myths is of Venus, Mercury and Jupiter in union; the change of epochs in the Bronze Age; the diminishing phases of Venus; 3 days of disappearance – 3 days in which Venus is hidden and appears as Vespers or Dawns; killing the Gugalan demon, like the disappearance of a Taurus constellation when the sun rises; it all starts with the spring equinox and ends with a meteor shower.
Some things can be confirmed immediately:
- The 7 Gates: through these gates, Inanna removes her clothes and then returns them to Heaven – this is a diminishing and growing crescent phase of Venus;
- 3 Days of disappearance: may also refer to the 3-4 months in which Venus is not visible to the Earth (passing behind the Sun);
- The gods Enlil, Nanna, Anu and Enki: wind, the Moon, the Sun and water (cosmological location and meteorological features);
- Ereshkigal: it is no coincidence that it is also the sister of the Underworld Kingdom, which is “as dark as in a cave” as described in the myth – it is the shadow and dark phase of Venus, and its kingdom is described as “lying under the Sunset Mountains of the west under the name Carnuga” (“Earth of the non-returning”), that is, the descent of Venus beyond the visibility of the Earth by its ecliptic behind the Sun.
Names associated with Inanna/Ishtar: Isis, Herta, Devaki, Cybele, Fortuna, Shing Mu, Colombia, Ashtaroth, Phrygia, Disa, Irene, Aphrodite, Venus, Minerva, Athens, Ceres, Demeter, Terra, and more.
Besides the various symbolisms of femininity, ecosystems and nature’s laws, of hunting, cunning and others; in each of them there is an association with dawn, light, radiance.
Also impressive are Austria and Australia as etymology, as well as the star as a term, symbolism and Venus (goddess and planet – Morningstar/Eveningstar). Obviously, in the interfusion of beliefs, the cult of the sun, moon and stars are always present in the ancients, regardless of ideological idea, cult, religion or politics.
Austria: derives from the medieval-Latin Marchia austriaca “the eastern border.” The German Österreich is the “eastern kingdom,” from the old German ostar “eastern” (from proto-Germanic * aust– “east,” literally “to sunrise,” from the pre-Indo-European root * aus– (1) “to shine,” the main reference to the dawn).
Australia: Latin Terra Australis (16th century), from australis – meaning south. Australis derives from the auster “south wind,” hence, the “south side”. But auster derives from the Proto-Indo-European root * aus– “shine.”
Star: Old English steorra “star,” comes from Proto-German * sternan– (from Old Saxon sterro, Old Frisian stera, Dutch ster, Old German sterro, German Stern, Old Norse stjarna, Swedish stjerna, Danish stierne, Gothic stairno). All this from the Proto-Indo-European root * ster– (2) “star.”
As we delve deeper into the Proto-Indo-European root, we find: scientists associate with the Akkadian i-star “Venus” (Ishtar, Ostara). It is also carried in the Balto-Slavs, such as: Latvian žvaigždė, Church Slavonic zvezda (звезда), Polish gwiazda.
Lucifer: God expelled Lucifer, the Fallen Angel, because he did not regard man as a great creation. However, who is Lucifer?
Old English Lucifer “Satan,” also “Morning Star, Venus Before Sunrise,” Diana’s epithet. Lucifer from lux (genitive lucis) “light” (from proto-indo-european root * leuk– “light, brightness”) + ferre “wear, bear,” from Proto-Indo-European root * bher– “carry,” also “carry children”.
He is mentioned only one:
12 How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!13 You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”15 But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit.
It is associated with Phosphorus by the Greeks (the element phosphorus is named after this god, which glows as it absorbs the sun’s rays). The relationship with Venus (goddess), Ishtar, Inanna and Shukra (Indian deity) is also proven. In ancient Egypt, Venus was named after Timothyri (Morning Star) and Oujaiti (Evening Star), respectively, with the Greeks Phosphoros (Morning Star) and Hesperes (Evening Star).
Thus God (the Sun), who “drives” Venus (the planet) to dawn, is transformed into “God banished Lucifer from Heaven.”
Lucifer was later associated with the Devil because of the separation of Biblical religions (most prominent are Christian authors Origen, Augustine of Hippon, and Tertullian) from the ancient ones of Babylon. Venus is called “the whore of Babylon” by the Israelites, and the king of Babylon himself is the Devil/Satan/Lucifer.
Venus (planet): The above indications indicate that the term “east” is always associated with sunrise and dawn, the sun rises from the east, Christians are baptized east. The planet Venus is of great importance here because it rises most strongly in spring and autumn. It appears as a landmark for the spring and autumn seasons (as the third most visible object to be observed with the naked eye after the Sun and Moon). In this case, given other clues, we are talking about spring time and the awakening of nature after winter, as well as the fertility and cycles of animal and plant species (so goddesses associated with spring and spring equinox are always feminine, beauty, fertility, charm).
Because the planets have their ecliptic, precession, and motion, they serve as an exemplary benchmark, while equinoxes and solstices are accurate phenomena. It should be noted that Venus has phases like the Moon, as well as brightness and degrees of appearance of the sky. Morning Star and Evening Star are considered to be complete Venus, with sufficient brightness and far enough from the Sun.
One more fact: Venus disappears in a few months from the sight of the Earth, but in about 9-10 months it is visible. This is an analogy to the feminine, and therefore is associated with the female character / goddess. And as described above, Lucifer derives from “bear light” from the Proto-Indo-European roots for “light” and “bear (children)”.
The spring equinox is March 20-21, and the autumn equinox is September 22-23, and for the last four years, Venus appears as follows:
2017: March – at dawn, April – at dusk; September at dawn, October at dawn.
2018: March and April – dawn; October – dusk, November – dawn.
2019: May and June – at dawn; October and November – at dusk.
2020: February and March, dusk; September and October – dawn.
After etymological research and other historical and symbolic information, it can be concluded that Easter is in fact the holiday of spring, the division of the year into seasons and the possible celebration of the calendar. Venus cycles orient for spring and autumn, equilibria give exactly when day and night are equal, all of which determine the cyclicality of ancient calendars and the distribution of time here.
Yes, there is an overlay of different interpretations, but they come with different beliefs of different factions and cults, and later when new religions are built (the Bible is 2000 years after the Mesopotamian beliefs), the new ones want to differentiate themselves from the old ones, and with the help Constantine, who mixed consciously old and new cults to unite the whole empire, was born of Roman Catholicism, whose idea was “unification of religions”, and Orthodox Christianity remained with the Slavic people.
Now Catholics say Happy Easter or directly “Happy Ashtaroth/Ostara / Inanna/Ishtar”, while the Orthodox “Christ is Risen,” (Христос Воскресе) which is a hindrance to the resurrected sun. In respect to the Sun, it may be “resurrected” with the Dawn/Venus showing spring time, but the reference in today’s interpretations is more like Christmas/ Kolyada/Wheel/Cycle – when the calendar cycle ends with the winter solstice, i.e. . December 20-21 (death – the shortest day, the longest night), and the resurrection of the Cross/Christ (division of 4 on the calendar), after 3 days in the “tomb” (darkness), ie. 3 days of maintenance on a short day and on the fourth of December 24-25 – begins to grow slowly – “resurrects”. (more in the Christmas article – Origin and Symbol)
It should be noted that at the beginning of the myth of Venus, her earliest references in myths always describe her from the “light” side, namely Morning Star – dawn, light, warmth, kindness, awakening, rebirth, cycle. That is, at the heart of the positive meaning of the awakening nature, and later for historical reasons is called “whore”, branded and in its place another deity.
The Egg, Rabbit and Buns
Where do the eggs, gifts (bread buns, yogurt) and the rabbit come from? As you read this sentence, you may be impressed by the comparison of “gifts” because it is too accurate – in pagan rituals, gifts are always offered to a deity or personification of a deity, idols, fetishes are always raised; not always, but there are often sacrifices (human or animal), and in early Christianity the sacrifices are denied, but because of the intervention of Constantine the Great, who makes symbiosis of pagan-early Christianity, the sacrifice is preserved.
For example, this is why on George Saint’s day lamb is eaten, therefore gifts, albeit non-animal or human, are given at the table; therefore, in the Catholic Church, the body and blood of Christ are “eaten” and “drunk”, bordering on pure symbolic cannibalism.
The Egg – Omphalos
I did a lot of searching and found that the red egg was from the cult of Ishtar because they were sacrificing children and dipping eggs in blood, thus becoming a red egg, which later appears as Christ’s blood for Easter.
Another version simply assumes that the egg is fertile symbol, along with the rabbit and is a cult of Astarte.
But a deeper pursuit by analogy: Titan Rea, which was the daughter of Gaia (Mother Nature) and Uranus (Heaven) to hide her baby Zeus from Cronos (time), wrapped a stone called “omphalos” in clothing and Cronos without noticing ate the omphalos, not Zeus.
In another myth, Zeus sends two eagles to meet in the navel of the world (omphalos means “navel” ὀμφᾰλός); ie the center of the world. The artifact of the Delphi Museum also shows an egg-shaped pattern. In other myths around the world it can be seen that the egg or oval represents the World, the Universe and the origin of all life.
Let’s go back to Rea or rather to her mother Gaia and her Father Uranus – they are “born” of the Primary Egg, hollowed out by the serpent Ofion (article here: Creation according to the ancient Greeks).
Because Venus/Inanna/Ishtar are presented as virgins, i.e. undefiled, pure and godly, it can be concluded that the omphalos in red is bathed in virgin blood in the creation of life/the world/cycle (cycle analogical between the women’s cycle and Venus cycle of brightness and illumination).
In the Biblical texts, Semiramis is born of an egg hatched by a dove (in Catholic church the Dove is representation of the Holy Spirit), and her son Tamuz is very fond on rabbits, so they became sacred. His father is the solar god Ba’al, whose etymology is from “bal”, “white”, “light”. However, the old symbols are still preserved here as celestial bodies and cycles, but why a rabbit?
The rabbit is probably the constellation of the same name, which has been described by Ptolemy. And since I was looking for a lot of in Eastern civilization, it is mostly misinformation – rabbit, eggs and Semiramis/Isis/Ishtar/ Inanna/Ostara/Ashtarta – all of them are deemed evil.
So this time, let’s look west – the formation of the Aztec calendar. It turns out that Venus plays a central role in shaping the calendar, adjusting three other calendars – Tzolkin, Haab (365 days) and Venus’ calendar. When the 584-day Venus cycle is compared to the solar cycle of 365, a 5: 8 ratio is obtained. Accordingly, the 8th is on Venus and is designated in Zolkin with Lamat, but the planet is also on Tochli – The Rabbit.
According to researcher Alan McGuilver, the glyphs of these calendars show the union of Venus, Antares and Scorpio every 8 years during the winter solstice of the beginning or ending cycle of Venus. The path of the constellation Rabbit is above the horizon under the constellation Orion (the three stars of Orion represent the rebirth of the Mayan turtle and the three stones), where the Tree of Life also resides in the Shibalba Underworld (Xibalba).
The rabbit is also present in the Chinese zodiac. The zodiac represents constellations, just as Mithraism honors the Sun and the 12 constellations, and which Constantine hybridizes with Christianity in Catholicism.
Most probably it comes from the Yule-Holiday (the winter solstice holiday of the Germanic people). There is evidence of the Yule-Cakes as early as the 18th century. In the Catholics of the west, we see that they eat a fruit cake for Christmas, and Slavonic eat it for Easter. The distinction between Slavonic and Catholicism can be seen here, since Slavonic has no tradition of rabbit while Catholicism does. As the German peoples are Christianized, it is obvious how this more modern tradition is transmitted.
Because Yalda and Yule (parisism and German paganism) have a long-standing etymological history and practice, they are associated with dawn / glow / dawn. Perhaps this is why Christians later take the symbol of the dawn of rituals for fire (in parismism, fire is a prime consideration), and this fervor as symbolism is conveyed throughout the Venus-Dawn mythology, ie. like a glow and fiery toungues (just like a true dawn).
Traces in Catholicism
There is too much research on paganism in Catholicism and Christianity in general, but here I will turn my attention to only 3 brief examples.
St. Peter’s Basilica: Historians confirm that the basilica is a prototype of the Pantheon, which is a pagan temple dedicated to all Roman gods. Michelangelo’s last work, which he accepts without being paid, for the salvation of his soul, is to complete the basilica with a dome so majestic. Because the basilica takes the design of the Pantheon, for historical reasons back in Roman times, when they killed Peter and buried him on the side of Roman walls away from the Pantheon itself. A small commemorative temple is being built at the site of the massacre, and with the coming popularity and introduction of Christianity, the construction of a basilica around a small temple, but of Roman style, began.
Michelangelo refashioned the entire basilica with the dome. The beauty is in the windows that are between the dome and the base of the basilica, and the incoming light seems to separate the dome from the building with the illusion that it floates over people’s heads. A symbol of the heavenly, the unattainable, the beautiful.
Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Peter: The Virgin Mary is certainly known to be Ostara/Ishtar/Venus – the virgin who is revered at such a high level by Catholics. There are various assumptions that the prototype of the statue of St. Peter was also in the image of the cult of Jupiter, the Roman main god. Since Constantine the Great allowed the cult of Mithras to exist throughout the Roman Empire, it can be concluded that he also allowed this vision to be mixed – the saint of Christianity and the pagan deity.
In the center of the bird’s-eye view one can see the clear symbolism of the 8-pointed star, which in Sumerian myths is of Anu but passes over Inanna’s head, and so she is always depicted with that star. That is, the center of the square and the Virgin Mary are clear references to Inanna / Ishtar / Isis / Ostara / Venus.
Sunday and Monday: in English Sunday is “the day of the Sun”, later “the day of the Son” (referring to Christ; not accidentally the son and the son/sun/sol, are close-sounding).
Easter is always on Sunday versus Monday, ie. the Sun against the Moon (Moon day -> Monday), light against darkness, good against evil, sunrise against sunset. Apart from these symbols, as we have looked at everything so far, only in the Bible is Venus blasphemed, always everywhere it was perceived as a rising planet, not a falling planet. She was always referred to as Morning Star, not as Evening Star. She is always the goddess of radiance and her sister is the Evil Queen of the Underworld, but Venus manages to get out of there – the story is positive.
Most probably for Easter Sunday and Monday are meant only for Venus, ie. her light and dark side, or her cycles as a planet, but also as a moral story of how one can cope with its own demons and the dark side (according to many culturologists, this interpretation is sufficient for the philosophy of the ancient man, and for the development of philosophy overall).
There is another mix – Friday is dedicated to Venus and incl. Fridays are exactly 3 days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) to “resurrect.” Here we come to the question of who is the resurected – the Sun (Christ) which is the winter solstice on December 25; Venus, which is missing from the sky for 3-4 months in the year; or is it a tribute directly to the Moon? Honestly, most probably when the calendar was adapted and translated they brought the symbolism of the 3 days to Venus and Sunday as the Sun, but most likely the resurrection is to the Sun and Venus together because the Morning Star appears in the morning when the Sun rises. That is, we now come to the conclusion that the Dawn is not only the planet Venus, but a whole set of factors – the Sun, the Moon, Venus, constellations, equinoxes – all in the intersection of astronomical knowledge and the creation of an accurate calendar.
Here are the names of the days of the week; all of them of the planets, the Sun and the Moon, as this is the oldest cult in the world, and it is mostly from ancient knowledge of astronomy (the Israelites appreciate Sabbath/Shabbat or Saturn more specifically):
- Sunday, ἡμέρᾱ Ἡλίου
hēmérā Hēlíou -> diēs Sōlis (Sun);
- Monday, ἡμέρᾱ Σελήνης
hēmérā Selḗnēs, diēs Lūnae (Moon);
- Tuesday, ἡμέρᾱ Ἄρεως
hēmérā Áreōs , diēs Mārtis (Mars)
- Wednesday, ἡμέρᾱ Ἑρμοῦ
hēmérā Hermoû , diēs Mercuriī (Mercury);
- Thursday, ἡμέρᾱ Διός
hēmérā Diós , diēs Iovis (Jupiter);
- Friday, ἡμέρᾱ Ἀφροδῑ́της
hēmérā Aphrodī́tēs, diēs Veneris (Venus);
- Saturday, ἡμέρᾱ Κρόνου
hēmérā Krónou, (Saturn).