An Exercise in Self-Control

“I can resist all things,” said Oscar Wilde, “except temptation.”  Or something like that.

Anyway, it doesn’t really matter, since the end of temptations are nigh. Or, in the case of Catholics, already at an end. The Vatican apparently allows for Lent to end at sundown on Maundy Thursday.

There’s something about a Christian festival, in previously Christian countries, to get all the anti-Church people leaping up and down about the non-Christian nature of said festival. Now, I’m not going to deny that the early Church had a habit of appropriating local festivals to win over the people. The birth of Jesus, for instance, probably wasn’t in December. To be honest, though, cheer and party in September (when we/early Christians are all busy with harvests) or in the middle of winter when it’s cold and dark and there’s not much else to do? Which would you prefer?

The thing that’s annoying me at the moment, and which annoys me every year because it pops up every Easter, is that thing which says that Easter was originally the celebration of an Assyrian/Babylonian goddess of love called Ishtar. As a goddess of love, and therefore probably also fertility, it makes sense for such a goddess to be celebrated in the Spring. The Assyrians and Babylonians weren’t the only ones to think so. The Norse had a sacrifice combined with a market at the end of winter called Dísablót, meaning a sacifice to the ladies, to the goddesses.

There’s another idea that Easter comes from Eostre, a Germanic goddess whom Bede says gave her month to that which became April. There’s not much else about Eostre, and Bede was an 8th century Christian. Since the word Easter is derived from the same roots as Eostre, it would be lovely to say that Easter is Eostre’s festival.

Except that Easter is only Easter in a few languages, notably English and German. In most other languages, the name for the festival is derived from the Latin name: the Paschal Sacrifice, which derives from the Hebrew Pesach. Which is the festival of Passover. 

The reason that Easter is at this time of the year is this: Jesus was crucified at Passover. And Passover is a Spring festival.

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Mark and I (mostly me) decided that this year we’d make us an Easter egg, since I have various egg-moulds.We picked the big one. It’s going to be the better part of a kilo of chocolate. 🙂

Have you noticed how Easter eggs have changed? I remember when I was little (oh so many years ago!) the treats were inside the eggs.

I was thinking earlier that, if the companies really were keen on reducing packaging, then they’d go back to putting sweets or mini eggs or whatever inside. Because that’s just sensible space economy. Reduces waste-packaging and makes the egg more exciting.

So that’s what we’re going to do with our, what you might call, family-sized egg…

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