Everyone is familiar with the Easter egg and bunny, well its commercial aspect, thanks to chocolate companies creating all shapes of eggs and bunnies for the almighty dollar. Not the Almighty God in this case. Most of us would have had our fair share of purchasing and consuming the confectionery items. But where did these iconic figures come from and what is their true meaning?
Some years ago, when I was researching about Pandora for my short story collection Accursed Women, I learnt there was an error in translation of a word. The significance of that mistranslation changed the way in which the myth was told and, subsequent interpretations through art and spin off stories. You can read about my blog post here: Idle curiosity of malicious intent. While researching about the origins of Easter, I learnt (many of you may already know this) that the Greek word ‘Pascha’ meaning Passover was mistranslated as Easter.
Greek and Roman calendars were filled with religious festivals. They were quite strict to ensure these special days were observed and particular rites carried out. A lot of these religious festivals pre-dated the written word and over time adapted and changed to suit the needs of the current times. Nothing new about that. One of the most interesting and intriguing festivals was the Eleusinian Mysteries, it even rivalled the attempts of the Roman Catholic Empire to stamp it out. Of course, it happened but its popularity and ‘pagan’ elements was eventually subsumed into the Christian faith. Its rites were distorted and no longer recognisable but to gain control and following, the Roman Catholic Empire took as its own.