Mark Owen

Home truths about Easter

Australia this year celebrates its national commemoration of war, Anzac Day, (25 April), right in the middle of the Easter weekend. This is inconvenient for some as it creates problems with workers' leave, store hours and so on.

People may wonder - why not move move Easter away from Anzac Day? As is well known, Easter comes around on different dates each year so it should be possible to choose a regular date. In fact, this has been suggested in the past, although not because of Anzac Day. In 1997 it was reported that an effort was being made by Christians on a worldwide basis to unify the date upon which Easter is celebrated. It was being proposed that a precise astronomical calculation, using Jerusalem as the basis, would be used and that the new system would begin with the Easter of 15 April  2001. This idea seems to have lacked support.

Easter is a religious celebration and is linked - at least as observed by Western Christendom - to the Jewish Passover which commemorates the events of the Exodus myth and is celebrated at varying dates beginning on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Nisan. To quote Wikipedia: 'Passover is a spring festival, so the 14th day of Nisan begins on the night of a full moon after the vernal equinox. The Anglican Book of Common Prayer states it thus: 'Easter Day is on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox.'

Thus we observe that hidden beneath the surface of a Judaeo-Christian celebration is the more primitive faith of lunar worship. All religion has evolved from earlier religions, right back to primitive beliefs.
Easter is a curious celebration; even the word comes from the name of the Anglo-Saxon goddess of Spring (Eostre) but in religion, as an old verse says, 'any god will do'. According to Bishop Charles Leadbeater of the Liberal Catholic Church, in his book The Hidden Side of Christian Festivals (1920), the name Eostre is in turn just another form of Ishtar, Astaroth, or Astarte, the Queen of Heaven.
A curious fact emerges as a result of the attachment to the Jewish Passover, Christians have come to celebrate the death of their prophet Jesus on a varying date! As an acquaintance once remarked, 'Christ is the god who dies from month to month.'  But, then, nobody knows for sure the date of his death any more than they know the date of his birth.

Easter for most Christians (some Christian and quasi-Christian groups do not observe this festival) marks the events surrounding the death on the cross of the prophet Jesus and his alleged resurrection on the third day. Christians think 'Good Friday' is especially holy as it marks the day he died. Trading on this day is frowned up and mostly banned, another example of Christians imposing their views on the rest of us. There is nothing 'holy' about the day nor Easter as a whole for the story of these events is of very doubtful provenance. See my paper: The Resurrection - World's Greatest Fraud.

Mark Owen, 2010 -