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Athiests/ Pagans- how do you celebrate Easter?

(44 Posts)
atthestrokeoftwelve Mon 03-Mar-14 15:29:12

Just a question for anyone celebrating Easter this year but in a secular or otherwise way- what do you do with your family?

BackOnlyBriefly Mon 03-Mar-14 15:36:35

Am Atheist, so easter eggs for kids mostly. Nothing very special.

ScarletStar Mon 03-Mar-14 15:36:51

I'm Wiccan and we call it Ostara - for me it's about fertility, new ventures, spring time and growth of all kinds. One thing we do is paint boiled and foiled covered chocolate eggs with wishes - messages like 'abundance', 'love', 'happiness' etc, then we put our own energies into them by holding them and imagining those qualities for everyone in the room. We then put them in a basket and without looking, everyone does a lucky dip into the basket to see what they get. You then eat the egg, knowing that you're bringing that particular energy into your body for the coming year.

When I say 'we' I mean my fellow coveners, as my DH doesn't have the same beliefs and my ds is only weeks old!

msrisotto Mon 03-Mar-14 15:38:16

I don't (atheist) but I give eggs for children.

rpitchfo Mon 03-Mar-14 15:39:05


ShatnersBassoon Mon 03-Mar-14 15:41:08

I don't celebrate Easter, just use it as an excuse to eat lots of chocolate and have a special meal with family, and enjoy the Bank Holidays of course. It's like Christmas for us, but on a smaller scale.

atthestrokeoftwelve Mon 03-Mar-14 15:50:18

I love these ancient festivals, when the kids weer younger I would always have an Easter egg hunt, lots of little chocolate treats hiddden about the garden, each child with a basket.
I still do an indoor Easter tree, ( a borrowed idea from a German friend) we bring in spring branches and decorate with bunnies, eggs, ribbons, flowers etc. looks very pretty. Egg rolling of course is still great fun.

And lots of chocolate of course!!

worldgonecrazy Tue 04-Mar-14 16:28:40

I'm Wiccan and we call it Spring Equinox. It's a time of celebrating the fertility of nature and humanity, a time when we can really see the flow of new life all around us, the flowers growing busily so plants can get their seeds/fruit fertilised. The trees are all pushing out their beautifully coloured new leaves, making the most of the sunshine that is heading our way (!) It's the time of the planting of the seed.

And chocolate, lots of it.

purpleroses Tue 04-Mar-14 16:36:19

Most of the Easter traditions that everyone does are pagan/secular rather than Christian in origin.

Eggs eggs, flowers, Easter bunnies, Easter bonnets, all have only the most contrived links to Christianity. And Easter is always on (or just after) the first full Moon after the equinox - so very much a spring festival.

We eat Easter eggs, hunt for them in the garden and sometimes decorate blown eggs or pick some stems of blossom for the house. And just enjoy the time off work and with the family.

I've never felt it to be in any way lacking because of the absence of the Jesus bit from our sense of its purpose.

HauntedNoddyCar Tue 04-Mar-14 16:40:31

The dc get a couple of eggs but other than that it's just a nice long weekend.

worldgonecrazy Tue 04-Mar-14 16:55:24

Easter takes place when it does because Pesach/the passover is set by the date of the New Moon. It's a Jewish throwback rather than a pagan one (though of course, the Jews will have got the idea from somewhere).

Ostara is a modern pagan invention.

SomethingkindaOod Tue 04-Mar-14 16:58:47

Pagan here, I celebrate Oestara and spend as much of the weekend out in the garden tidying and planting. I have a little altar area which gets tidied and new offerings out down.
Then we have an egg hunt with lots of chocolate and weather allowing, a BBQ smile

atthestrokeoftwelve Tue 04-Mar-14 18:03:39

I agree about the pagan roots:
"Spring is in the air! Flowers and bunnies decorate the home. Father helps the children paint beautiful designs on eggs dyed in various colors. These eggs, which will later be hidden and searched for, are placed into lovely, seasonal baskets. The wonderful aroma of the hot cross buns mother is baking in the oven waft through the house. Forty days of abstaining from special foods will finally end the next day. The whole family picks out their Sunday best to wear to the next morning’s sunrise worship service to celebrate the savior’s resurrection and the renewal of life. Everyone looks forward to a succulent ham with all the trimmings. It will be a thrilling day. After all, it is one of the most important religious holidays of the year."
This is a description of an ancient Babylonian family—2,000 years before Jesus

I don't think it is an invention of the Jewish either Literary evidence shows these celebrations have existed as long as 15,000 years ago in Neolithic times.

AngelsWithSilverWings Tue 04-Mar-14 18:08:20

We are atheist - we eat hot cross buns on Good Friday and do Easter egg hunts for the kids on Easter Sunday. Other than that it's just another day. We don't do a special meal or anything.

EauRouge Tue 04-Mar-14 19:55:57

Chocolate and gardening.

worldgonecrazy Tue 04-Mar-14 22:38:37

atthestrokeoftwelve could you please let us have some academic sources, because as far ad I know there are no contemporary references for Ostara other than one single reference from Bede who days she "may" have existed, and them nothing until modern history. certainly nothing to link the single tenuous reference with eggs, rabbits or chocolate. I would be grateful if you could share your sources.

atthestrokeoftwelve Wed 05-Mar-14 07:14:23

I don't understand what you are asking- an academic link to prove what? the link between eggs rabbits and chocolate?

Ronald Hutton 'The Stations of the Sun; A History of the Ritual Year in Britain' pp180-181 looks at Bede's Eostre and is unconvinced that she existed and refers to her as a 'shadowy deity' and with her removal there 'evaporates any reliable evidence of a pre Christian festival in the British Isles during the time which became March and April.'

Hutton is professor of History at Bristol University and not a Christian.

worldgonecrazy Wed 05-Mar-14 08:22:46

atthestrokeoftwelve you have asserted that you have given a description of a Babylonian family - where did you get that description from, because it doesn't sound like anything an archeologist or historian would write. It reads like it is a piece of fantasy/fiction, but you are using it to support your argument that Easter is based on ancient traditions which began in the Neolithic period (which began 12,000 years ago, not 15,000).

The page you linked to is riddled with errors and unfounded statements, and is not something that can be used to support any suggestion that Easter has pagan roots. Briefly, I cannot recall any part of the legend of Ishtar where she is tied to a stake, East and oestrogen may sound similar but their etymologies are different, there is no evidence to suggest Ostara is connected in any way to bunnies or eggs, and I have no idea how the rock art at Roslin Glen is supposed to be supporting evidence for the other claims.

There is no evidence that Ostara has been celebrated at a goddess at any time in human history except for the last few decades.

I can also recommend Professor Ronald Hutton's book "Stations of the Sun", which is a fascinating journey through origins of many of our modern celebrations, including the Modern Pagan Sabbats.

atthestrokeoftwelve Wed 05-Mar-14 08:35:42

I make no academic assertions- the festivals we celebrate- Easter and Christmas included- are riddled with symbols rituals and ideas gathered from many cultures and sources.
No-one can lay claim to them now really.

I am simply interested in how non-christians celebrate easter with their family- is that so contraversial?

worldgonecrazy Wed 05-Mar-14 08:49:30

no one can lay claim to them now really

Exactly - yet you suggested Easter had pagan roots and posted some unverified stuff to prove this statement.

It's got nothing to do with how non-christians celebrate Easter - that is not controversial at all, because we blatantly do celebrate Easter (and Christmas).

Essiebee Wed 05-Mar-14 09:16:25

Why would you need to celebrate it? It is a very important Christian festival,(admittedly pasted on to pagan festivals) but if you don't believe why bother? Alternatively you could try reading the story in the Gospels; it's actually very moving.

exexpat Wed 05-Mar-14 09:19:58

I am an atheist and just see easter as another name for a celebration of spring, and an excuse to eat chocolate. Most years I have organised an easter egg/chocolate hunt for my DCs and a big group of friends (not in the UK, so not a cultural tradition over there but everyone has a great time). I don't pay any attention to the Christian stuff tacked on.

atthestrokeoftwelve Wed 05-Mar-14 09:21:56

But it's an important secular festival too- as is christmas. That doesn't make our reasons any less valid than yours.

Many pagans and wiccans celebrate easter as a very important time.

There is no mention of easter celebrations in the bible, or bunnies or eggs but christians use these symbols in their celebrations.

exexpat Wed 05-Mar-14 09:24:12

BTW, atthestrokeoftwelve, I think something has got mixed up somewhere (or someone is just making stuff up) because there is no way that an ancient Babylonian family 4000 years ago decorated eggs and had hot cross buns etc etc.

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