Well once again it seems the heavy hand of political correctness has seen fit to squash another one of our beloved western cultural quasi-religious observances.
Believe it or not this time the muzzle is being forced on our furry friend the Easter Bunny. In an attempt to further confuse children an unnamed school in Seattle would not allow a 16-year-old volunteer to pass out Easter treats this past week and call them Easter Eggs. Instead apparently the youth was directed to call the egg-shaped candies Spring Spheres. The reasoning for this was to wash any taint of religion from the kids search for treats.
Now what Easter Eggs, or bunnies for that matter, have to do with the Christian tradition of Christ’s crucifixion and subsequent resurrection I have no idea. Once again it seems that everyone has their collective knickers in a knot about absolutely nothing.
If you really want to get picky about Easter and its traditions we have to look not to the Christian Gospels or the Hebrew Torah but instead at the pagan mythologies and practices of the distant past.
Ēostre or Easter as it is known now is actually a blend of ancient Northern European customs that welcome the spring and celebrate a minor pagan goddess named Ostara. Mentioned in the writings of Jacob Grimm, he writes.
“We Germans to this day call April ostermonat, and ôstarmânoth is found as early as Eginhart (temp. Car. Mag.). The great christian festival, which usually falls in April or the end of March, bears in the oldest of OHG. remains the name ôstarâ […], it is mostly found in the plural, because two days […] were kept at Easter. This Ostarâ, like the [Anglo-Saxon] Eástre, must in heathen religion have denoted a higher being, whose worship was so firmly rooted, that the christian teachers tolerated the name, and applied it to one of their own grandest anniversaries.” – From Wikipedia.
The mixture of springtime symbolism and the European traditions of paganism blended well with Christian dogma of Christ’s rebirth around this time of year. So in the churches mind the two fit well enough to allow the pagans into the arms of the Holy Roman See.
The fact that treats are now delivered by a bunny once associated to a pagan goddess is all but forgotten. So what once were two separate and distinct religious ideologies came together under the watchful eyes of the Catholic Church in order to make converts of the European pagans.
Much like Santa Claus our friend the Easter Bunny was then co-opted by corporate agenda and forced to deliver chocolate Disney princesses and transforming autobots all but crushing any memory of Christ or Ostara from the equation.
Let’s just face it kids are not stupid. They know an Easter egg when they see one, and calling it a Spring Sphere at school isn’t going to change that fact. Whether or not this whole Spring Sphere controversy is even real is debatable, I have not found one reliable source that names the student anything other than Jessica, age 16, or a name of the school.
It is true however that most schools these days are forced to abide by a non-promotion of religion policy. So it’s not out of the question that something like this may have happened or will happen in the future.
But honestly Easter has very little to do with religion these days anyhow. Let the kids chase and play as they hunt for the spring eggs of Ostara’s bunny. Chances are they aren’t going to remember anything but the sugar high anyway.
Happy Eostre Everyone!!