Sunday, March 21, 2010

"Easter" Fairytales

I am joining (late) the blog hop from Patty's Blessed Moon, and the topic this week is "Fairy Tales." She has a beautiful story to share, so please go by and visit, leave a comment, and join in, it's not too late.

I had trouble coming up with a fairy tale, because honestly I only remember a few; but what did come to mind is fitting for the season: The Easter Bunny.

As a child, I remember growing up looking forward to all the hoopla of Easter...the Easter Bunny would come and leave me a huge basket filled with sugar coated sugar and chocolate covered chocolate bunny droppings. There were usually coloring books, crayons, and sometimes even money. Of course this meant I had to put on a new frilly dress and sleep with rollers in my hair all night, so I could look like a perfect replica of Nellie Olsen (from Little House on the Prarie). 
I do remember we always heard the story of the resurrection at church, complete with flannelgraphs, my favorite part of Sunday School. That was high tech in Del Rio in the early 70's (see example, lifted from Google Images, sorry they did teach me it's wrong to steal in Sunday School, but patience is not my gift, and haven't received permission yet). Don't tell. I will give a plug to the site that sells these though: The Felt Source

I never gave the Easter Bunny nor her eggs a second thought. Hey wait, she didn't lay those eggs did she? See, again - not thinking. Then one day, as I shopped for my son's Easter Basket and Easter suit (bless his heart), I decided to research the history of the bunny and what she/he had to do with Easter as I was taught in Sunday School (why didn't they ever have him/her on flannelgraph, why was he being left out of the lessons all those years)?

The Easter bunny, as a symbol, was first mentioned in German writings in the 1600's. To make a long story short, rabbits and eggs are symbols of fertility and the Easter holiday was originally a celebration of a fertility goddess and spring equinox.  If you are not into history and just want the bottom line, just stop reading right here.

Ok, I knew you wanted to know, so please follow along, hang in there, this gets Hare-y (no pun intended). Pre-Historic Disclaimer: I am no historian, so if you find some of my facts are screwy, blame the internet because depending on which historian you read, you can find some minor details are different.

The origin of this ancient goddess goes all the way back to the tower of Babel (in other lands she is called Eostre, Astarte, Ashtoraf, Ashtoref, Wife of Baal, Queen of Heaven). All or most are mentioned in the Bible and all refer back to the same woman: Semiramis, the mother and wife of Nimrod (yes, she was BOTH-mother AND wife). Long story short, (I know, I already said that) he was a bad guy who was mighty throughout the earth. He became a god-man to the people and his wife/mother became the powerful queen of ancient Babylon. Nimrod was eventually killed and his body was sent in parts to various parts of the kingdom; all the parts were gathered and found except his reproductive organ (yes, his penis was lost). Without this part, he was thought to be unable now to come back to life and she claimed he had ascended to the sun and was now to be called Baal the sun god.  Simaramis claimed that she came to earth in a moon egg which became known as Ishtar's Egg. All this took place in Spring and Simiramis became known as Ishtar (pronounced EASTER). She soon became pregnant and claimed it was the rays of the sun god Baal that caused her to conceive. She gave birth to a son named Tammuz. Tammuz was noted to be especially fond of rabbits and they became sacred in ancient religion. He was later killed by a wild pig (there's more to this story because his mother later declared a pig was to be eaten every spring in honor of Tammuz. Ishtar was referred to as the " mother of god" and "queen of heaven "and continued to build her religious following. Every year on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox, it was called Ishtar Sunday and was celebrated with rabbits and eggs. 

Well, that took longer than expected, and the story of how we got from there to where we are now, combining what should be a holy celebration of our Lord Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead with pagan rituals is for another blog. 

Wondering what you think about all that???


patty said...

i think you are absolutely hysterical, and very, very brave... i lol several times, and ron keeps rolling his eyes at me. thanks for linking!

Selina said...

this is why David needs to do a blog :) I loved it!!