This pictures were taken @ This were the images taken last Easter 2002 @ Maryland. Attended by Bros Vic (& family), Leo, Bennie, Soan, Jesse (& family), Lemuel, Junie, Doods; Sis Ellen

Easter - Where do the Easter Bunny and Easter Eggs come from?
by Linda Campbell

Like many other Christian celebrations, some of the Easter traditions have their roots in earlier religions. It is interesting to remember that until the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1582 AD, New Year was generally celebrated about March 25th and many pagan celebrations were held around the vernal equinox to herald the arrival of spring. The pagan and Christian festivals all celebrate a rebirth and renewal of life.
Even the name Easter relates to a pagan goddess! According to the Venerable Bede (672 735 AD), the word Easter derived from the name of the Saxon goddess of fertility who was called Eostre or Eastra. The spring equinox (which occurs around March 20th to March 23rd) was particularly associated with her.

Others believe that the word Easter has a different explanation, and arose from a mistranslation of the word alba (meaning white and referring to the robes worn during the Christian festival). Alba can also be translated as sunrise, which is ostern in German and this, according to some, is the root of our word Easter.

This seems to be a rather complicated connection and was never mentioned by the Venerable Bede, a medieval scholar, whose works are often cited as a reliable source of information.

There are other compelling reasons for favouring the links with this goddess, Eastra. Known as Ostara to the Norse people, her symbols, were the hare and the egg. The hare has become the Easter bunny and the eggs have become chocolate! Of course, we still paint and dye boiled eggs but this also can be traced back to other religions. Dyed eggs were used in Babylonian festivals and were also suspended from the ceiling in Egyptian temples.

Christians gave a new meaning to eggs at Easter. In some countries, the decorated eggs are rolled down a grassy slope. This symbolises the rolling away of the stone from the entrance of Christs tomb.

Hot cross buns, traditionally decorated with the sign of the cross, may also have derived from the feast of Eastra. During her celebration to herald spring, an ox would be sacrificed. A stylised carving of the oxs horns would be incised into bread. The Saxon word for "sacred ox" is boun and this gave us our word bun.

However the customs originated, Easter is the most important festival of the Christian year with its message of resurrection and salvation. Enjoy this special time and try not to eat too much chocolate!
Copyright 2002 Alpha Phi Omega DC Area (MD/DC/VA) Alumni Association, Washington D.C., USA. All rights reserved.