The Contemporary New England Witch

The Contemporary New England Witch
Author Ms.Faith

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter! How the Church Uses Pagan Associations to Choose the Holy Dates

Happy Easter to all who Celebrate!

I thought it a timely topic, because today is Easter, to discuss with you, my witchy readers, some interesting things about the Christian Easter holiday. As many people already know, many of the Catholic holidays such as Christmas, All Soul's Day, Candlemass, Lammas etc. were all Christianized Pagan holy days. These celebrations were overlaid on Pagan holy days to help convert the masses to the new Christian religion that was being spread throughout Europe in the 6th century c.e.

But there is more to the Pagan-Christian correlation to the Easter holiday than simply overlaying one holiday on top of another. For starters, the name Easter was taken from the letters of the Old English spellings of Eostre or Eastre, which today is called Ostara, which is the Spring/Vernal Equinox Sabbat for Pagans.

Just a side note: I have seen memes on social media which claims Ostara and hence Easter has its origins in the Middle Eastern Goddess Ishtar and in all of my research on this Celtic-Druidic pagan Sabbat, I have never seen anything that corroborates this, except unfounded, unsupported opinion. It is so important these days to be aware that so much information on the Internet is wrong, so further research with reputable sources is vital.

More interesting facts concerning Easter, is the curious formula that the Catholic Church uses to determine the date of Easter Sunday.  They place Easter Sunday on the first Sunday to fall after the Paschal full moon, which is the first full moon to occur after the Spring/Vernal Equinox! Oh my! There's Pagan correlations all over the place! Full moons, Spring Equinox (Ostara)!! So, using this formula, Easter Sunday always falls between March 22 and April 25th.

 I simply love how close and alike we are, in many ways with Christians, as opposed to how different we are. We may have different 'dogma' but we are so very alike.  Christians are celebrating the resurrection of their Christ, Pagans are celebrating the resurrection of the earth as She comes into Spring.

Once the church has determined the date of Easter Sunday, then the other important Holy days are determined. For instance, Good Friday is two days before Easter Sunday, Palm Sunday (the sixth Sunday of Lent) is the Sunday one week before Easter. Ash Wednesday is figured by finding Easter Sunday and backing up six Sundays (which brings you to the first Sunday of Lent and back up four more days, which gives you Ash Wednesday which occurs before the first Sunday of Lent.

So many people, even if they identify as Pagan today, have started out their life as some type of Christian and I love the family gatherings, the social aspect of celebrating together, the feast (which has it's basis is Pagan culture), all of it. You see, the way I look at it, I can celebrate any holy day I wish to and it doesn't affect my beliefs and my faith. Celebrating a Christian holiday with others doesn't threaten my spirituality, nor should it. But if you celebrate today with others or if you are just enjoying a quiet day off, I hope you enjoy today!!  Happy Easter, Blessed Ostara, Happy Spring!!

Peace and Happiness!

© 2010-2016 Faith M. McCann. Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. Please note that the copying and/or further distribution of this work without express written permission is prohibited. 

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