A Conversation for The Easter Bunny

This article is full of errors. Hares were not symbols of Eostre.

Post 1

Adrian Bott

I am horrified that the BBC would link to an article that contains so much misinformation and repetition of popular errors.

The worst is the blithe assertion that Eostre was a lunar goddess with a hare symbol. Unfortunately there is practically no information about Eostre available. We know of only one primary source that mentions her at all - the Venerable Bede - and even that may be erroneous.

In his De Temporum Ratione ("On the Reckoning of Time"), explains the naming of the Easter festival as follows:

"Eosturmonath has a name which is now translated "Paschal month", and which was once called after a goddess of theirs named Eostre, in whose honour feasts were celebrated in that month. Now they designate that Paschal season by her name, calling the joys of the new rite by the time-honoured name of the old observance."

That's all we know. Two sparse lines. Anything else, such as Eostre being 'lunar' or having the hare for a symbol, is complete invention. Rather than being an inherited tradition, it has all been grafted on after the fact in a retroactive attempt to explain how customs come to be.

It's even suggested by some academics that Bede made Eostre up out of whole cloth. To quote the far more balanced Wikipedia page, "Kuhn says, 'The Anglo-Saxon Eostre looks like an invention of Bede;' and Mannhardt also dismisses her as 'an etymological dea ex machina.'"

As for the date of Easter being based on 'the lunar calendar', that's incredibly misleading. Easter's date is based on the Biblical account of the Crucifixion taking place at the time of the Passover feast. If you're going to commemorate the Crucifixion, then Passover is the only calendrical landmark there is. The date of Passover was basically the first full moon of Spring, and thus we get the basis for Easter, although there were other considerations based on Christians not wanting Easter to be entirely congruent with a Jewish festival. Ultimately, Easter is derived from the Jewish lunar calendar, not the Anglo-Saxon one. The date has nothing whatsoever to do with pagan traditions.

This article is full of errors. Hares were not symbols of Eostre.

Post 2

Adrian Bott

As for that supposed myth about how 'Eostre's hare was a large, handsome bird which she one day magically changed into a hare', that's actually a hijacked Ukranian folk tale about the origins of pysanky (painted eggs). Eostre isn't in the original.

It's not authentic folklore at all. It apparently originates with the book 'Mrs Sharp's Traditions' by Sarah Ben Breathnach, and stretches back into the ancient past about as far as the 1990s.

Here's a link that completely debunks it, and a lot of other Eostre-related stuff, too.


This article is full of errors. Hares were not symbols of Eostre.

Post 3


Did you actually read the whole article? I wrote it because I was interested in why I have grown up with the rabbit being associated with Easter and all commercial items for Easter always include 'rabbits' - just look at the amount of 'fluffy bunnies' and 'foil wrapped chocolate bunnies' that our supermarkets sell us. I tried to investigate this point. It was meant to be totally impartial
and therefore not relevant to either Paganism, Christianity or any other religion which may have taken offence
I feel that you have crucified my writing simply for your own 'personal' needs whatever they may be and that you have not really concentrated on my findings but just wanted to find a way to have your voice.

If you are so knowledgeable why don't you write about this subject in a way that is comprehensible to the majority of the population instead of standing on some pretentious, aspirational academic soapbox!smiley - sadface

This article is full of errors. Hares were not symbols of Eostre.

Post 4


I note the Article mentions the Council of Nicea
another (non-hootoo) site says
-Easter began as a celebration to celebrate Christ’s resurrection
-Easter is meshed with pagan holidays and ceremonies in order to attract pagans to Christianity
-327 A.D. at Council of Nicea Easter is ruled to be the first Sunday after the vernal equinox
-Today Easter and the pagan holidays associated with it are meshed into one holiday.
Had you noticed practically all humor and jokes relating to Easter are secular in nature and deal with bunnies (hares)and eggs.
For example: What do you call a line of bunnies going away from you?
A: A receeding hare line smiley - silly.

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This article is full of errors. Hares were not symbols of Eostre.

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