April 1st, Easter bunnies and eggs…what do they have in common?
Many years ago, the world used what is called the Julian calendar and not the Gregorian calendar. The Julian calendar is (was) based on the Solar calendar of 365 days, with an added leap year every 4 years. This calendar is still used today by the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Berbers and the Hindus. The Julian calendar also has 13 months, 28 days and 1 neutral day. For many believers, Easter is the time when they celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is also a time when children enjoy “egg hunts” and bunnies.
Did you ever wonder what the eggs and bunnies have in common during this time? Why do we, still today, celebrate Easter with eggs and bunnies? Going back to the Julian calendar; the first month of the year is (was) April and not January. April, in the Northern Hemisphere, was not only a time of the Spring Equinox, but also a time when Spring has arrived. Animals started to mate (hence the bunnies) and chickens lay their eggs (Easter eggs). April as the 1st month of the year, was not only an indication that a new year has started, but also a new season.
There are many, ancient traditions (which many writers refer to as Pagan), that is intertwined with celebrations of today. Easter is one such example. According to St. Bede the Venerable, the word, Easter, comes from the word “Eostre” or “Eostrae,” referring to the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility. Some historians maintain that Easter comes from “in albis,” a Latin phrase that is the plural form of “alba,” meaning dawn. Easter, in Old High German, became “eostarum,” which is the precursor of the English language today.
There are interesting similarities between Easter and Passover, that I would like to mention. In Passover, the eggs are called Paschal eggs and symbolizes rebirth (same as in Easter). Another word for Easter is “Pascha,” that comes from the Hebrew name “Pesach” (meaning Passover). Both use the Lunar calendar and celebrate the beginning of Spring. The Hebrew calendar is lunar and Passover is celebrated on the 14th of Nisan. Easter is celebrated on the Sunday after the 1st full moon, following the vernal (March) equinox. Spring is not only the start of the new year, but also a time of hope and renewal.
Easter and Passover both speak of a delivery from a state of despair. In Easter, it is delivering a person from sin, and in Passover it is delivering a person (people) from slavery. The story of Easter is set in Jerusalem, during the time of Passover. The last supper (that Jesus had with his disciples), is believed to be a Passover feast.
On a last, and more spiritual note, Easter and Passover is a time when the ego dies. As you grow, spiritually, and ascend to a Higher Consciousness, your ego “dies” and a more, spiritual essence, takes shape. During winter many plants die (go to sleep like the animals), but in spring, there is a rebirth. The same applies to us – there is “death of the ego / the old,” and a rebirth of the spirit / self. Regardless of what you, my readers, celebrate, have a lovely time with family and/or friends.