Saturday, March 30, 2013

What Is Easter, Eggsactly?

As many of you, I, too, am preparing for tomorrow’s Easter. I have vases of fresh flowers on every table; there are rabbits, jars of jelly beans, chocolate carrots, and painted eggs decorating my home. It looks and feels very Springy. Now, I’ve never been raised to be a religious person and so when I see this kind of d├ęcor intertwined with crosses and crucifixes at some of my Christian friends’ homes, I think to myself: What does Jesus have to do with Easter? There’s a good rule of thumb—if you don’t know something—ask. And ask I did. Why, Easter celebrates the resurrection of Christ! they said. So the rabbit represents his hopping out of the grave … and the eggs? Is that what he ate when he hopped out? And why are they painted? They didn’t know.
Another good rule of thumb: if you doubt the answer you get, do your own research. And research I did.

Easter is a Pagan festival, not celebrated on a Sunday, but on the Spring Equinox when the Sun (not the son) overcomes the powers of darkness (longer nights) and is “resurrected” or “reborn” in the constellation of the Southern Cross (and voila, we have longer days). This “resurrection” myth goes way back before our buddy Jesus. All the way back to the ancient civilization of Sumer, where the Sumerians celebrated Goddess Inanna who had been resurrected from the Underworld; the same Goddess was later renamed Ishtar by the Akkadians, Assyrians, and Babylonians. And more resurrection stories, all based on the very same premise, follow, such as the Egyptian one about Horus, then we have Mithras, and how about Dionysus? And then Jesus. All reborn/ resurrected during the Spring Equinox.

The bunny—a leftover pagan tradition from the festival of Eostre, where the great northern Goddess whose symbol was a hare was celebrated.
Painted eggs—jeez, they go all the way back to Sumer and Egypt and other ancient civilizations where they were presented to Gods as a gift.
Hot cross buns, anyone? They go way back to ancient Israel where they were baked as a sweet bread to be presented to an idol.

So, this was just a very brief Easter Origins 101. If you’d like to learn more, and believe me—there is so much more to learn, you should do your own little research. You may be intrigued.

Now, you may know that my country, the Czech Republic, has always been desired (which is a fancy word for “occupied) by many nations; therefore, the influences for the Easter holiday are as colorful as can get. Let me tell you a little bit about what we do.

First: We don’t go to the mall to take pictures with the Easter Bunny. 
We eat him.

Then we paint eggs, but not with the artificial dye that gets all over your fingers and you can’t get it off for days, so you walk around looking like you’ve just stuck your hand up rainbow’s ass. We get together and do the most intricate designs that take skill, patience, and steady hands.

We also bake a cake in the shape of a lamb—white or chocolate, which is the most delicious cake I’ve ever had. And trust me when I say that because I know cake.

And then we get the crap beaten out of us. Well, the girls do. Boys come knocking on our doors with a long stick; they have to sing to us, then they spank us, and then we tie a ribbon around their stick and give them painted eggs. Whoever collects the most ribbons is the obvious macho man. The spanking is supposed to bring women good health for the upcoming year, but the way I see it, this last tradition is very suggestive of men’s aggressive sexual cravings—what, with flaunting their sticks and hitting women? Hello! We live in the age of feminism and gender equality! Enough is enough! I wonder what idiot came up with this tradition. What sort of egotistical maniac woke up one day, farted, wiped the drool off his chin, and said: “Aah, I think I’m gonna make a stick and beat the crap out of women with it and tell them it’s healthy for them. Oh, and I’m gonna have them put a ribbon around the stick, so everybody can see how many women I got. And then I’m gonna ask them to make me some hard-boiled eggs ‘cause I’m gonna be pretty hungry after beating the crap out of them.”   

Pick a Stick

Yeah, I really want to find out whose idea this was, then resurrect him from the grave and kick his ass!

Happy Easter, everyone!

Nacho Libre.
Easter Scene.


  1. Great post, Aneta. I've left my Italian Roman Catholic years long behind me and am happily pagan now. Not one in particular. I love yoga, Buddhism, a little Wicca and Stregheria (Italian witchcraft)here and there as well Native American wisdom. The message is the same for all of them. We are all connected to nature and the energy of universe.

    Ishtar is pronounced 'Easter.' Eostre and Ostara are basically the same fertility goddess, hence the rabbit :) We get the word Estrogen from Eostre.

    Your decorated eggs are absolutely gorgeous! I'm surprised more women haven't ripped that stick from the man's hand and given him a good hard poke in the balls!!

    Thanks for sharing your native customs. Very interesting!

  2. I never really thought to look into the origins of the eggs and bunnies at Easter time. Thanks for the information. Now if you could share some of that lamb cake I would be very grateful. Those eggs are beautiful. The stick beating is barbaric.