Easter is another religious festival that has roots in pagan as well as Christians traditions.
Spring is a season of renewal and rebirth and Pagans have long held festivals during March or April to celebrate nature's rebirth. This was a suitable event for early Christians to merge with the story of Christ's resurrection.
The word Easter is derived from Ostara or Eostre, the name of the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring.
The goddess Eostre is associated with eggs and hares or rabbits. One legend says that Eostre found a wounded bird in the snow. Wanting to help she transformed it into a hare so that he could survive the winter. In the spring the hare laid a clutch of eggs, showing that it was still a bird at heart. The hare left these eggs as gift for Eostre.
In many pagan belief systems the hare or rabbit is a symbol of fertility and eggs are a symbol of life.
The ancient Egyptians, Persians, Gauls, Greeks and Romans all had traditions of giving eggs as gifts or as offerings to the gods during the spring.
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