Saturday, March 21, 2009

Pagan links to Easter

If you are a Pagan with children it is very hard to argue with the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus. I don't try. As a scientist I made absolutely certain that my daughter understood, as early as 5, the physical science aspects of Winter Solstice, Summer Solstice, Spring Equinox & Fall Equinox. But we always have a "Christmas" Tree and the Easter Bunny always comes to our house. When children are very young, spring is about simple things like flowers blooming or stinging catepillars on oak trees. But we swim in a cultural stream that is affected by history: hidden (and not so hidden) Pagan history, Christian history, Jewish history, so the Easter Basket and the Easter Bunny is part of what we do.

The Christian celebration of Easter is a "moveable feast". A moveable feast is a religious holiday that falls on different dates in different years. Full Moon rituals.... moveable feasts. Not that the kids will get these off as religious holidays. Well you could try but, me personally, I am not willing to stick my neck out quite that far. Children to protect.

Easter is officially the first Sunday after the full moon following the Spring Equinox. Unless the first Sunday falls on a Full Moon, then it is the following Sunday.

No, I am not making this up. There are a couple of great articles explaining the detail in the reasoning for setting the date of Easter. Also check out this link. Even when the Christians agree about celebrating Easter they continue to quibble about the exact date. New Orleanians don't quibble because Easter sets the date for the more important moveable feast of Mardi Gras.

So as a pagan parent my recommendation is to teach your children about the science behind the Solstices & the Equinoxes. Make sure that you mark these days as special. Then don't fight the Easter Bunny but use the Spring Equinox as the time to when we should start appreciating the signs of Spring and keep look out for the Easter Bunny.

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