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Easter history and traditions.

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3/31/2013 9:23:53 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
Only Anglo-Saxon countries call it "Easter". The term "Easter" refers to the Anglo goddess Eostre, who personified the dawn and was associated with spring.

The original term for Easter was the Latin word "Pascha". Pascha is the latinization of the Hebrew word "Pesach", meaning "Passover". Early Christians celebrated passover, and some modern Christians still do. The early Christians included the resurrection of Jesus in their celebrations along side the Jewish celebrations; later the old testament became overshadowed by the new testament and the old testament celebrations were dropped.

The Easter Bunny and Easter eggs have their roots in Ancient Egyptian Mythology. The Goddess Wenet was personified as either a Rabbit, or a women with a Rabbit's head. Wenet was the patron Goddess of the 15th Nome of Upper Egypt, where the cult of Thoth was centered. Thoth was said to have laid the Cosmic egg, from which the sun god Ra was born. Every spring, when the waters of the Nile recede, the Egyptians would celebrate the Shemu festival. During the Shemu festival the Egyptians would decorate eggs, and give them to each other, symbolizing the cosmic egg laid by Thoth. The egg decorating tradition lives on today in the harvest festival known as Sham el-Nessim.

The tradition of decorated eggs was carried over into the Hebrew passover. During passover the Israelites would dip hard-boiled eggs in salt water. The hard-boiled egg tradition has a parallel meaning; while it is a continuation of the Egyptian tradition, it now also symbolizes mourning over the destruction of the Temple.

When early Christians in Egypt celebrated passover, they decorated the hard-boiled eggs, as the locals were doing. Egypt was one of the major locations where Christianity thrived in it's infancy. The decoration of the hard-boiled eggs, and the traditions behind the decorated eggs now lives on in our Easter traditions.
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