Essentially a springtime festival, there has been much debate over the origin of Easter, in the religious context.
However, there is a general acceptance of the proposition offered by 8th-century English scholar St. Bede, according to which, Easter owes its origin to the old Teutonic mythology. According to the mythology, the occasion was observed as a spring festival, by the ancient Anglo-Saxons (also known as ‘Pagans’), commemorating their Goddess of offspring and of springtime – Eostre.
According to the legends, Eostre returned to Earth after a long, chilly winter season. She brought with her the light and warmth of the spring season. Therefore, the ancient Pagans consider Easter as the onset of spring. Her festival was celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox, which coincided with 21st of March, every year. On that day, the ratio of day to night was the same. Go through the following lines to get interesting facts on the history and origin of Easter.
Easter has been a pagan festival that heralded the advent of the spring season after the desolate winter months. When the second-century Christian missionaries arrived in England, they used these pagan celebrations as a tool for converting the pagans to Christianity. Another record says that in a letter to Saint Mellitus, who was then on his way to England to conduct missionary work among the pagan Anglo-Saxons, Pope Gregory I suggested that converting the pagans would be easier, if they are allowed to retain the outward forms of their traditional pagan practices and traditions. He wanted to recast those traditions spiritually towards Christianity, instead of to their indigenous gods.
The Christian church, converted the Pagan festival from an observance of the advent of spring season to the one that is celebrated to commemorate the Resurrection of Lord Jesus Christ. The date for the festival of Easter was also changed by the Church, in 325 AD. Thereafter, the festival was observed not on the spring equinox, but on the very first Sunday following the full moon on or after the vernal equinox. Therefore, the festival is celebrated on the 22nd of March, every year, in some parts of the world. The date can be as late as 25th of April as well.
Since the pagan festival of ‘Eastre’ occurred at the same time of year as the Christian observance of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the contours of the festival was altered to make it a Christian celebration. Because of its unmistakable pagan symbolism – Easter bunny, Eggs – fundamentalist Christian groups continue to reject the celebration of Easter, because they believe them to be irrevocably tainted with paganism and idolatry. In the present time, Easter festival symbolizes the rejuvenation, renewal, rebirth and restoration of all living beings on earth.