PAN Media Release
April 1, 2010
Easter, the most important festival of the Christian calendar, is actually a Pagan holiday. That’s according to the Pagan Awareness Network (PAN), an association that represents modern-day followers of Europe’s indigenous spiritual traditions.
“The word is derived from ‘Eostre’, who was the Germanic goddess of the springtime,” PAN President David Garland said today. “Her festival celebrated the return of life and growth to the land with the passing of winter.”
According to Mr Garland, the early Christian church appropriated many myths and symbols from existing indigenous belief-systems in Europe. “The Easter Bunny was originally a hare, which represented fertility and sexuality,” he said. “The egg also represented birth and new beginnings, and Christian missionaries working their way through Europe wanted to link their message of death and resurrection with what was already familiar to the population.”
Easter was not the only festival appropriated from indigenous European religions by Christian missionaries. Others include the December 25th feast of the Roman god Sol Invictus, the Celtic festival of Samhain on October 31st (All Hallows Eve), and Beltane on May 1st (celebrated by the church as Roodmas).
PAN Inc President
PAN Inc Media Officer
The Pagan Awareness Network Incorporated Australia (PAN Inc) is a not-for-profit educational association with members Australia-wide. It has no formal ties with any religious body, but works in a proactive fashion, both within the Pagan community and as a point of contact for the public, including government and media organisations.