She has her own festival on 21 March, the Spring Equinox, in which bouncing springy behavior is encouraged.
A Germanic goddess, Eostre was very popular with the Anglo-Saxon pagan brigade who worshiped her under the name — and kicked off the whole Easter business without a Jesus in sight. If you ever wondered what eggs and bunnies have to do with crucifixion and resurrection, the answer is: absolutely nothing.
Eostre’s sacred animal is a cute wittle wabbit — an obvious symbol of fertility — and the egg is her symbol of fertile purity. So Easter Egg hunts are actually packed with symbolic meanings of rebirth and renewal. And Elmer Fudd is obviously just a high priest of the Great Easter Bunny.
In case you think we’re being flippant, recent research suggests that Eostre herself may have been invented during a mischievous moment by the Venerable St. Bede. This well-known monk mentioned her in connection with the pagan festival Eosturmonath in a book written in 750 AD — but extensive research has failed to find a trace of her prior to that. Could he possibly have been fibbing?
Rabbits and hares are ubiquitous in mythology. Every culture seems to have a rabbit god — and they’re nearly always trickster spirits. This, we feel, explains a lot. We also have a terrific theory explaining why stage magicians love doing tricks with eggs and rabbits. Was Eostre pulled out of a hat?
Eostre Facts and Figures
Pronunciation: Coming soon
Alternative names: Ēostre, Ostara, Eastre, Ēastre
Celebration or Feast Day: Unknown at present
In charge of: Fertility
Area of expertise: Fertility
Good/Evil Rating: Unknown at present
Popularity index: 1980
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Article last revised on May 25, 2019 by Rowan Allen.
Editors: Peter J. Allen, Chas Saunders
References: Coming soon.