Weblog entry #231 for simonw
The Christians have claimed it for themselves, but seem to have trouble explaining the name, the bunnies, the eggs, the weird dating etc.
I did a little researching around, and there is considerable skepticism at the claim by Bede that it is named after the goddess Eostre, although there is a nice legend that might explain the hare/rabbit and egg tradition.
It seems clear that Easter is a new year celebration, from when the new year was celebrated at the vernal equinox. But the weird dating used is derived from lunar calendars, and probably derives from the Jewish calendar.
A lot of the tradition is similar to the Persian Norooz festival. Which is sometimes celebrated with a "spring clean", hiding and then bringing sweets into the house in the new year (not so different from some English new year traditions).
Each culture seems to have just built its own interpretation of how to celebrate the vernal equinox, and borrowed, stole, or mangled earlier ideas.
Spring cleaning is a tradition with a longer history than most other Easter traditions, so it is appropriate that I've spent the last 6 days cleaning, sorting and decorating. All I need now is a holiday, and some time to catch up on all the things I should also have been doing whilst I was decorating. On the upside the Office looks great, and we are ready to start on the Nursery (aka Spare Room), just as soon as we find some more time and motivation.
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