March 20 is the first day of spring but did you know the it’s also the pagan holiday of Eostre or Ostara and the real Easter?
Ostara is the Anglo-Saxon goddess named for east or dawn. Pagans, an agrarian culture celebrated the growing light and longer days with the hope of a long and fruitful growing season. Good crops meant more food and a greater chance of survival. A great reason to do a happy dance with Pan. Pagans have nothing to do with worshipping the devil or Satan. The mix-up derived from the goat-footed Pan or Greek god Dionysus, the lusty god of wine or Cernunnos, the horned god of fertility. Our ancient ancestors were a superstitious lot an it’s easy to see how figure this horned creature helped symbolically link the devil with witches in the middle ages but that’s another post.
Christians adopted or adapted Ostara or Eostre into Easter to celebrate the resurrection of Christ around the spring equinox but not necessarily on it. Like most Jude-Christian holidays, they fall near the equinoxes Many of the same traditions and symbolic eggs, bunnies or other baby animals as signs of fertility continue but new traditions like giving chocolate eggs or bunnies as gifts emerged.
Cute real bunnies or chicks are still available but unless you plan to raise chickens or care for adult rabbits who can live for years, stick with chocolate or candy. It’s kinder and more humane.