For many the "Easter" holidays are about chocolate, bunnies, religion and spring.
Most have no idea of the origins of the name Easter, the symbols (eggs, bunnies, chicks etc) or the pre-Christianity traditions. For us, researching the origins of holidays has become a bit of a tradition in itself. My son's quest for knowledge has taught us so much. Easter's Pagan origin is recognised by most religions although not widely broadcast.
For us, we have come to learn of this season as the celebration of the
For anyone wanting to learn more, I found a great site combining all the explanations of many others, and while long, is a great read. Easter History and Traditions is very informative, not judgemental towards any faith and covers more than most sites which tend to be either pro pagan or pro religion (neither of which is helpful as you don't want bias when looking for information).
Symbols of Ostara and the Spring Equinox are eggs, rabbits, chicks, flowers and seeds. These symbols became the modern "Easter Bunny" and Easter Eggs (see above link at Easter History and Traditions). Many do not realise that these things symbolising fertility, new life and springtime are of pagan origin. So many don't realise why at Easter time, it was traditional to eat eggs (real ones) in cooking. Eggs were always on the menu for us at this time of year. Boiled eggs with runny, bright yellow/gold yolks, with toast (cut into strips for dipping into the yolk and called Soldiers when we were children) were always a favourite and are still my favourite thing to have Easter morning. Other mornings were scrambled eggs and omelettes. But the tradition of boiled eggs is my childhood memory that I've passed on and we look forward to choosing which cute egg cups to use.
It was also traditional to eat the last of the cured meats that they had stored for use over the winter. This time of year was also seen as a time to cut out some of the heavier foods eaten over winter and was a pre Christian version of the Lenten period. So lighter meals were eaten at this time, with lots of spring vegetables, eggs, lighter meats like chicken and fish, plenty of seeds etc.
Celebrating Easter when you are not a Christian means you just don't recognise the aspects relating to Christianity. However all the fun parts of the season are actually of pagan origin so you still get to take part and recognise all the good things. Without the non Christians throughout many cultures in history, you wouldn't have Easter eggs, or the Easter Bunny. You wouldn't call it Easter either.
So to all my friends, wishing you a Happy Easter season, whether you are Pagan, Christian or of other religions. Happy Ostara, Happy Spring Equinox, and to my son a Happy Birthday! He was born on Easter Sunday 11 years ago and this year his birthday falls on Easter Sunday again. It will be a busy few days in this house with lots of gifts, chocolate, bunnies, eggs and traditions.