Easter: Eostre a Teutonic goddess
The exact origins of Easter as a religious day’s name are somewhat unknown. Some sources claim the word Easter is derived from Eostre, a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility and because Eostre who was the goddess of dawn and spring, that is why “east” the region in which the sun rises, shares the same root as “Easter.” Teutonic denots the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. From Latin Teutonicus, from Teutones, Teutoni, name of a tribe that inhabited coastal Germany near the mouth of the Elbe, probably via Celtic from Proto-Germanic *theudanoz, from Proto-Indo-European *teuta-, the common word for “people, tribe.” To put this, in a broader understanding in the past Proto-Indo-European referred to by many scholars as Aryans and Germany in Finnish is Saksa “Land of the Saxons.
The Teutonic Knights (founded 1191) were a military order of German knights formed for service in the Holy Land, but who later crusaded in then-pagan Prussia and Lithuania. According to some archaeologists, PIE speakers cannot be assumed to have been a single, identifiable people or tribe, but were a group of loosely related populations ancestral to the later, still partially prehistoric, Bronze Age Indo-Europeans. The Anatolian hypothesis proposes that the Indo-European languages spread peacefully into Europe from Asia Minor or modern day Turkey which has parts in the Fertile Crescent and PIE speakers may come from modern day Turkey around 9000 years ago with the wave of farming spreading into Europe. Proto-Indo-European religion roots of Easter or Eostre in Anatolian (Asia Minor or modern day Turkey) dialects is Estan, Istanus, Istara. Pagan Anglo-Saxons had held feasts in Eostre’s honor, but that this tradition died out and was replaced by the Christian celebration of the resurrection of Jesus.
A Christian scholar around 672-735, asserted that Easter was named after Eostre (a.k.a. Eastre). She was the Great Mother Goddess of the Saxon people in Northern Europe. Similarly, the “Teutonic dawn goddess of fertility [was] known variously as Ostare, Ostara, Ostern, Eostra, Eostre, Eostur, Eastra, Eastur, Austron and Ausos.” Her name was derived from the ancient word for spring: “eastre.” Similar goddesses known by other names in ancient cultures celebrated in the springtime. Some were: Aphrodite, named Cytherea (Lady of Cythera an island of Greece) and Cypris (Lady of Cyprus) after the two places which claimed her birth; Astarte from ancient Greece; Ashtoreth from ancient Israel; Demeter from Mycenae; Hathor from ancient Egypt; Ishtar from Assyria; Kali, from India; and Ostara a Norse Goddess of fertility. An alternative explanation has been suggested.
The name given by the Frankish church to Jesus’ resurrection festival included the Latin term hebdomada alba or Latin word “alba” which means “white” a reference to white robes worn during the festival which people in white robes were baptized. Other accounts trace it to a second meaning: “sunrise.” When the name of the festival was translated into German, the “sunrise” meaning was selected in error. This became “ostern” in German. Ostern has been proposed as the origin of the word “Easter.”
Many, perhaps most, Pagan religions in the Mediterranean area had a major seasonal day of religious celebration at or following the Spring Equinox. Cybele, the Phrygian fertility goddess, had a consort, Attis, who was believed to have been born via a virgin birth. Attis was believed to have died and been resurrected each year during the period MAR-22 to MAR-25.
Gerald L. Berry, author of “Religions of the World,” wrote:
“About 200 B.C. mystery cults began to appear in Rome just as they had earlier in Greece. Most notable was the Cybele cult centered on Vatican hill …Associated with the Cybele cult was that of her lover, Attis (the older Tammuz, Osiris, Dionysus, or Orpheus under a new name). He was a god of ever-reviving vegetation. Born of a virgin, he died and was reborn annually. The festival began as a day of blood on Black Friday and culminated after three days in a day of rejoicing over the resurrection.”
Wherever Christian worship of Jesus and Pagan worship of Attis were active in the same geographical area in ancient times, Christians:
“… used to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus on the same date; and pagans and Christians used to quarrel bitterly about which of their gods was the true prototype and which the imitation.”
Many religious historians and liberal theologians believe that the death and resurrection legends were first associated with Attis, many centuries before the birth of Jesus. They were simply grafted onto stories of Jesus’ life in order to make Christian theology more acceptable to Pagans. Others suggest that many of the events in Jesus’ life that were recorded in the gospels were lifted from the life of Krishna, the second person of the Hindu Trinity, or were taken from the life of Horus, an Egyptian god. Ancient Christians had an alternative explanation; they claimed that Satan had created counterfeit deities in advance of the coming of Christ in order to confuse humanity. 4 Modern-day Christians generally regard the Attis and Horus legends as being a Pagan myths of little value with no connection to Jesus. They regard Jesus’ death and resurrection account as being true, and unrelated to the earlier tradition.
Apparently, the goddess Ēostre had a thing for rabbits — some legends even describe her as having the head of a hare. It makes sense, too. Ēostre was the goddess of fertility, and bunnies, as we know, are known for their ability to populate. According to some twists on Ēostre’s story, the goddess once transformed a bird into a rabbit, which helps to explain why the Easter Bunny is also associated with eggs. Although the Easter Bunny has pagan origins, it worked its way into the Christian celebration of Easter thanks to German Protestants who began celebrating an “Easter hare” in the early 1600s. Much like Santa Claus, the Easter hare rewarded good children with an Easter egg hunt.
Decorating Easter Eggs Isn’t a Christian Tradition, people were decorating ostrich eggs as far back as 60,000 years ago, according to some archaeologist findings. Eggs were later often incorporated into Pagan celebrations in the spring, as they were a symbol of new life. Early Christians dyed eggs red to represent the blood shed by Jesus Christ.