True Power

True Power

Sunday, April 4, 2010

HE IS RISEN

HE IS RISEN!
This is the history changing proclaimation. The world has not been the same since those first century Christians saw the resurrected image of a crucified savior. The testimony began with two women and later was given credibility by more than 500 witnesses. Triumph over death was accomplished by Jesus Christ of Nazereth.

So why are there so many bunnies and eggs seen on this resurrection Sunday? Our old standby explanation of things we cannot control is hard at work. How do we make heads and tails of the unexplainable? We turn to superstition and folklore.

Do you know why eggs and bunnies are associated with the Easter celebration. It is because both the egg and bunny are symbols of fertility and for that reason were an important part of European Spring festivals. After Europe became Christianized these symbals of Spring and fertility were transfered to the Christian Easter celebration, a holiday that celebrates renewed life.

There are a number of superstitions relating to Good Friday:

A child born on Good Friday and baptised on Easter Sunday has the gift of healing.

Many fishermen will not set out for catch on Good Friday.

Bread or cakes baked on this day will not go mouldy.

Eggs laid on Good Friday will never go bad.

The planting of crops is not advised on this day, as an old belief says that no iron should enter the ground (i.e. spade, fork etc.).

Hot cross buns baked on Good Friday were supposed to have magical powers. It is said that you could keep a hot cross bun which had been made on Good Friday for at least a year and it wouldn't go mouldy.

Hardened old hot cross buns are supposed to protect the house from fire

Sailors took hot cross buns to sea with them to prevent shipwreck.

A bun baked on Good Friday and left to get hard could be grated up and put in some warm milk to stop an upset tummy.

Having a hair cut on Good Friday will prevent toothaches the rest of the year.

Giving Easter Eggs goes back to the Egyptians and Romans whom both used egg-giving as a symbol of resurrection and continuing life.

Christianity later adopted the egg as an emblem of the Resurrection of Christ.

Infants were given hard-boiled eggs dyed red (the blood of Christ) to keep them healthy for the coming year.

Children born on Easter Day are considered fortunate.

Ancient German superstition states that Rabbits lay eggs on Easter Day hence the Easter Bunny.

Pagan origins of 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." 3

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. 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 legend as being a Pagan myth of little value with no connection to Jesus. They regard Jesus' death and resurrection account as being true, and unrelated to the earlier tradition.

Wiccans and other modern-day Neopagans continue to celebrate the Spring Equinox as one of their 8 yearly Sabbats (holy days of celebration). Near the Mediterranean, this is a time of sprouting of the summer's crop; farther north, it is the time for seeding. Their rituals at the Spring Equinox are related primarily to the fertility of the crops and to the balance of the day and night times. In those places where Wiccans can safely celebrate the Sabbat out of doors without threat of religious persecution, they often incorporate a bonfire into their rituals, jumping over the dying embers is believed to assure fertility of people and crops.

So today we celebrate with a mixture of the pagan and Christian tradition. There are those Christians who rail against the notion of the Easter Bunny and his appearance along with his colorful eggs. But, as Jesus drilled into our minds through the Scriptures, it is the content of a person's heart that he is concerned with. Are you a pagan who worships some goddess or are you a Christian who knows the truth of Jesus' life, death and resurrection who happens to enjoy coloring and hiding eggs for little children to find? It is the heart that will be judged.

It is not the history of the Easter Bunny or a pagan goddess that many people celebrate on Easter. I say, just remember why we celebrate the day and enjoy it as a celebration of life.

Happy Easter

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