Hello! I’m the Easter bunny. Oh wait, no – I’m the Ostara hare. What in God’s name am I talking about? Well, there’s a question…

You know, the two festivals have an awful lot in common. It’s important to point out that most of the myths surrounding the (possibly non-existent) goddess Ostara/Eostre are mostly bunkum. Nevertheless, the Pagan idea of a Spring festival, celebrating the planting of seeds which will grow into new life has a lot of similarity with Lent and Easter. Lent is a period of spiritual renewal; Ostara a time to plant new seeds, which may be literal or spiritual in nature. Lent is followed by Easter: the death and resurrection of Jesus; Ostara has also a new life/rebirth theme.

What’s more, Easter is the first Sunday after the full moon after the Spring Equinox, which is an unnervingly Pagan way of choosing the date of a holy day. In fact, the timing of Easter doesn’t come directly from the Equinox (unlike, probably, Christmas from Yule, the Winter Solstice), but from the Jewish Passover. Passover itself, however, is directly linked to Springtime, with the Torah repeatedly describing Passover as “the holiday of Spring”. Spring follows the darkness of Winter, and Passover celebrates the Jews going from slavery (a metaphorical darkness) to freedom (a new life).

It was often in the past helpful for Christian societies taking over Pagan countries to super-impose their holy days over Pagan ones. Of late, it’s also been convenient for Neo-Pagans to reverse the procedure and claim Pagan roots for Christian holidays, not always accurately. But still…

Bunnies – seeds of change – new life.

Christian or Pagan or Jewish, you’d be amazed what the religions – by intent or chance – appear to have in common.