Eostre: On the Evolution of the Holiday
Today, on the first gathering together after the first full moon following the Vernal, (or spring), Equinox, we observe the ancient festival of the reawakening earth.
Dating by the moon reveals that this is a very ancient holiday. Until 1752, when the Gregorian calendar replaced the Julian calendar, the year actually began in the spring.
The common name for this holiday shares a root with estrus, both believed to stem from Eostre, Saxon goddess of spring and the dawn. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Eostre evolved from Ishtar of Babylonia.
Modern religious interpretations are only a part of folk belief which is impregnated with concepts from earlier times. Since antiquity, the Vernal Equinox has been intimately associated with ideas of birth and fecundity.
Models of rabbits, renowned for their fertility, are seen everywhere at this season. The “Easter Bunny” is a direct descendant of the moon hare, who was said to lay eggs for good children.
Eggs are time-honored symbols of renewed life. As are “hot cross buns” female symbols and associated with the goddess Eostre.
(The persistence of “Easter” suggests that the goddess Eostre must have been one of the most highly honored of the Teutonic deities, and her festival must have been a very important one, so deeply is it implanted in our modern traditions.)
Although society no longer spills the blood of the sacrificial king, chosen at the winter solstice as a willing victim to ensure the fertility of the fields, remnants of these customs can still be seen in modern religious beliefs.
Easter is a joyous holiday that welcomes the rebirth of the earth with symbols that have changed very little from ancient times.
I would like to add that there is no proof of the rumor that the first pope, Peter, was a rabbit, or that the fact is guarded by a secret order called the Hare club for Men. (South Park)
From the Goddess Book of Days
(a perpetual calendar)
Spring Equinox, a Wiccan Sabbat, is also called Easter or Oestre; the day is dedicated to Ostara, Eostre, Aphrodite, Ishtar, Esther, Astarte, and Persephone. (It honors the return of Persephone to Demeter——her mother——and the return of the god to the goddess.)
Purim (in the Hebrew calendar) is the Fast and Feast of Esther who saved the Jews of Persia; she is also Eostre, Ostara, Aphrodite, Ishtar, Venus, etc.
Easter (the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring equinox) is also the Festival of Ostara, Eostree, Esther; in Mesopotamia it was the Akitu Festival to celebrate creation and the sacred marriage.