Sunday, April 5, 2015

Eggs marks the spot

Holiday Rerun: Silly Easter piece from March 2013, before Bill O'Reilly succeeded in killing Jesus, which I felt like posting again, if nobody minds.

From David Lynch's Inland Empire (2006), via the Guardian.
O’Reilly points to a handful of small community centers and elementary schools that are hosting “spring egg hunts,” sometimes with a “spring bunny” emceeing the festivities. Nowhere to be found is the word “Easter,” laments O’Reilly, fearful that the nation’s six year olds will one day forget the religious symbolism of crawling around a grassy schoolyard on all fours searching for chocolate-filled plastic eggs. (Adam Peck, ThinkProgress) 
Peck probably thinks he's being funny here, under the assumption that the word "Easter", to say nothing of rabbits and eggs, has nothing to do with Christianity.

Indeed, given that Ēostre/Ostara is the name of a Germanic goddess of the Dawn (rising in the east in a chariot drawn by a pair of hares), it would seem to have little relation to the death and resurrection of Bill O'Reilly's Lord and Savior. This, however, is to misunderstand the true meaning of Easter, which is essentially about Christians' deep and abiding conviction that they are not Jewish. Thus it is held approximately at Passover, but in defiant ignorance of when Passover precisely takes place, so that when the First Seder falls on a Maundy Thursday and the commemoration of Jesus's Last Seder it seems like a weird coincidence; and prominently features the consumption of foods that are not pareve: ham, and ostentatiously leavened breads such as hot cross buns and popovers.

In the same way, while in southern Europe the festival is simply called "Passover" (Pâques, Pasqua, etc.) as if to wipe the Jewish festival out of memory, in the Germanic cultures it takes the name of the goddess of the Dawn. This has nothing to do with worshiping Ēostre: it's simply a matter, like using the Roman names of the month or the Anglo-Saxon names of the days of the week, which are also the names of pagan gods, of obliterating the Jewish ones.

The eggs, on the other hand, commemorate a miracle in the vita of the martyred Saint Conilius, deacon in a congregation of 5th-century Bononia, who found his family at the end of one Lent too poor for meat with which to break the fast, except a little bacon. He saw a fat hare in his garden, nibbling at the new ramps, and lunged for it—but as he was readying himself to break its neck he saw its eyes filling with tears, and bethought himself of the Blessed Virgin's suffering through the death of her Son on the Cross, and let the animal go. It scampered away, but not without pausing here and there in the bushes, where it miraculously laid a sequence of eggs about the size of duck's eggs and equally rich, in a rainbow of different colors. Conilius gathered up a dozen or so and brought them home, where he invented spaghetti alla carbonara.

Well, that's enough for now, but by all means have a happy Easter and Paschal Period and remember, if it means Bill O'Reilly isn't Jewish then that really benefits everybody.

Yours in X,
Ostara, by  Johannes Geerts, 1901. From Wikipedia.

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