Seth Godin is Wrong about the Easter Bunny

From Seth Godin’s All Marketers are Liars Blog:

It wasn’t until 1,600 years after Jesus that the Bunny became associated with Easter. If you think about it, it’s pretty weird (bunnies don’t lay eggs), but it’s part of a long standing pattern of new religions stealing symbols and stories from older religions.

Original post

Ok other than new religion’s stealing symbol from older religions he’s pretty much completely wrong. First of all the calendrics surrounding Easter are a little wonky, the technical definition of when Easter occurs is as follows:

Easter is the first Sunday after the first paschal moon after March 20th

Many People say the first full moon after the vernal equinox but that’s not technically correct. The monks who worked for Pope Gregory and straightened up the calendar, had some small inaccuracies in their calculations. The full moon and paschal moon are usually the same day, but not always. The same is true of March 21st and the vernal equinox. Hey they were a bunch of monks working with no calculators and at best a sketchy understanding of astronomy, so cut them some slack ok?

Prior to Pope Gregory’s monks fixing the calendar, the dates for Easter were based on a Church Council decision from 325 AD. So if the church had a plan in place in 325 AD that means we were celebrating Easter approximately 325 years after the death of Jesus, so sorry your 1600 years is way off.

Easter does however get it’s name from an older pagan goddess and her festival. Easter originates from the goddess Eostre or Eastre. Depending on what part of Europe you were from she was also known as Ostare, Ostara, Ostern, Eostra, Eostre, Eostur, Eastra or Eastur. While there are a few different versions the story of the Easter Bunny it goes something like this.

One year Eostre, the goddess of spring, was late in coming and winter still had a firm grip on the land. One day small child from a village was walking in the woods, and came across a swan who was covered in ice and snow and nearly frozen to death. The swan was so beautiful, and it made the little girl sad that it was going to die, so she called out for Eostre to save the bird. The goddess heard her plea, and came to save the swan. However when she arrived it was too late to save the entire swan, as the wings had frozen and fallen off. Taking pity on the creature the goddess changed it into a rabbit. However since it was only a rabbit on the outside, and inside it was still a bird, it laid eggs, which started the tradition of Easter Eggs. In later years as religons placed dietary restrictions on eggs around the time of Easter and Lent, and they became a sought after food on Easter mornings. People began decorating them, which reached it’s peak with the legedary Faberge Eggs.

Now the early Christian missionaries were smart bunch. Rather than try to eliminate the old pagan traditions they incorporated them into Christianity. So Eostre’s feast and traditions became Easter and the winter solstice became Christmas. And since it is Saint Patricks Day, here’s another one, the snakes that Saint Patrick chased out of Ireland weren’t real snakes either, they were the symbols of pagan religions across Ireland at the time.

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