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The term "Ostern" (Easter) originates from an ancient Anglo-Saxon goddess of the dawn, who was named "Eastre", "Eostre", or "Ostara". Eostre, apparently is a European version of Astarte/Isis and some even associate her with the Hindu goddess Kali. Eostara is a lunar holiday, honoring a lunar Goddess at the Vernal Full Moon. The time of celebration is very special and determined by the Church on the Sunday, following the Vernal Equinox. Thus Easter is always the first Sunday, after the first full Moon, after the Vernal Equinox. If Easter Sunday were to fall on the Full Moon itself, Easter will be postponed to the following Sunday instead. Eostre's chief symbols were the hare, both for fertility and because her worshipers saw a hare in the full moon, and the egg, symbolic of the cosmic egg of creation. Related terms are "estrus" and "estrogen" (the female hormone). Not only is estrus related to reproduction, it is also seasonal and in the case of humans (one of the few animals that does not exhibit strict seasonal reproduction) it is also approximately lunar. Thus, the honoring of Christ coincides with the awakening of nature to new life after the wintry sleep.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|