‘Before the Easter Bunny nibbled its way onto sacred turf, Easter was a very serious business. In early Christian communities — in fourth century Milan, for instance — it was the day when, normally, all new Christians were baptized, and it was the deepest spiritual experience most of them would ever have. But the very things that impressed those “born again” in “saving waters” would probably upset modern people — things like their being stripped naked in church and then anointed with oil all over their body, or going naked into a pool where their heads would be held under water three times for “total immersion.”’
“Easter is “Pessach” in Hebrew, “Pascha” in Greek, “Pachons” in Latin and “Pa-Khonsu” in Egyptian, “Khonsu” being an epithet for the sun god Horus. In Anglo-Saxon, Easter or Eostre is goddess of the dawn, corresponding to Ishtar, Astarte, Astoreth and Isis. The word “Easter” shares the same root with “east” and “eastern,” the direction of the rising sun.”
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“Named for a goddess whose symbols include rabbits and eggs, Easter is a mix of modern-day religion and pagan pratices. While most Americans celebrate Easter with pastel gift baskets filled with colored eggs and chocolate bunnies, others know the holiday of light and rebirth by a different name— Ostara.”
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“The December solstice has influenced the lives of many people over the centuries, particularly through art, literature, mythology and religion. The December solstice is also known as the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere.
In the northern hemisphere, the December solstice occurs during the coldest season of the year. Although winter was regarded as the season of dormancy, darkness and cold, the coming of lighter days after the winter solstice brought on a more festive mood. To many people, this return of the light was a reason to celebrate that nature’s cycle was continuing.”
“The winter solstice is celebrated by many people around the world as the beginning of the return of the sun, and darkness turning into light. The Talmud recognizes the winter solstice as “Tekufat Tevet.” In China, the “Dongzhi” Festival is celebrated on the Winter Solstice by families getting together and eating special festive food.”
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