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Happy Holiday-Which-Is-Totally-100%-Christian-No-Pagans-Here-No-Sir

08 Apr

Sarcasm? Moi? Surely you jest.

Look, I’m a religious minority, I get my jollies where I can, okay? Mostly by laughing at all the Pagan trappings that have been co-opted by those silly people with crosses.

Angry teenage years aside, I’m actually pretty chill about the whole holiday thing.* The world I live in is built around a Christian calendar, and I don’t get a choice about that. Short of cutting myself off from all of Western Civilization, I have to live with the fact that school schedules and government holidays and the like are arranged around someone else’s idea of what’s a special day.

So I muddle through as best I can. I’m not always as observant of the Sabbats as I would like to be (it’s hard to have a good Beltane when you’re solitary and it falls on a Wednesday and you have to get up at 7AM to work the next day). So I stick things in wherever I can, with varying degrees of good-natured hysteria.

Ostara Easter is one of the best opportunities for amusement. It’s the most important day of the Liturgical Year, the High Holy Day of all High Holy Days. I mean, Jesus rising from the dead is pretty much the defining moment of Christianity, yeah? So this holiday should be totally Christian. No silly Pagan trappings or focus on fertility or any of that nonsense. No, this is a day to remember how Our Lord died for our sins.

Believe it or not, I actually typed that with a straight face. Oh, Jesus people, you so silly…

Let’s see. Ostara Easter is calculated by the Vatican to fall on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox in the northern hemisphere. Nope, nothing Pagan about that, not at all (except we usually bother to find the actual astronomical dates for these events rather than just saying, ‘eh, it’s usually about the 21st’). When most people think of Ostara Easter, they think of bunnies and eggs before lambs and lilies. Because bunnies and eggs are totally not fertility symbols sacred to the old Germanic goddess Eoster. And lambs and flowers are never, ever seen as signs of springtime fertility. And, oh yeah, this holiday is definitely not named after that same old Germanic goddess. Nope. Not at all. (It should be noted that most European languages retain some form of the Greek paskha; only English and German let this particular bit of Pagansim seep in.)

So yeah, no Paganism here. No sirree. None at all. Nope.

To all of the Christians now ready to murder me for my sarcasm…I tease because I care. I still get royally pissed at various individuals and ideas under the Christian umbrella, but I do have a deep affection for many Christians, and for the church I was raised in (Episcopalian). Not to mention that shoehorning your holy days into the native festivals is an excellent way to ease the locals into your new religion. And frankly, we Neopagans should be grateful to you all for preserving some of the old traditions, even if you do think eggs are “a symbol of the empty tomb.”

Sorry, I’m laughing again. I’ll try to compose myself. I really don’t mean to be disrespectful – or at least, only a little disrespectful.

So, after all of this, how did I celebrate Ostara-Easter? Oster? Eastara? Osti-Easti-Ahsti-terra? Oh, you know, the usual. Ostara basket of chocolate eggs from my resigned mother. Easter brunch with the grandmother (who shall never, ever know I’m not a good little Anglican girl anymore), to which I may or may not have worn earrings shaped like the Venus of Willendorf. And then I went to the local UU church for a chant-and-sing, during which we invoked the Crone, Ostara, and Saraswati…and sang old Gospel songs.

I think I love the UUs.

Which is really what it’s all about. I don’t begrudge Christians their Easter bunnies and Easter eggs; it’d be nice if more of them didn’t begrudge me my copulating rabbits and fertile ova. (It’s not always about sex with us…just most of the time.) And really, isn’t it more fun when we all get together to chuck bunnies at each other and eat too much and generally have a good time? Afterwards, you can go to church, and I’ll go watch the rabbits doing their mating dance in the backyard.

*Except for my traditional Christmas Eve Mental Breakdown, but that affliction is hardly limited to Pagans. Risk factors include but are not limited to: Difficult fathers, nostalgic brothers, overwhelmed mothers, and general holiday procrastination. And trees. It’s always the tree…

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7 Comments

Posted by on 8.4.2012 in Life, Spirituality/Paganism

 

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7 responses to “Happy Holiday-Which-Is-Totally-100%-Christian-No-Pagans-Here-No-Sir

  1. jonolan

    9.4.2012 at 10:17 am

    “The world I live in is built around a Christian calendar, and I don’t get a choice about that.”

    Excuse me? Christian (re)namings aside, what part of the Western World’s holiday calendar has changed from the pre-Christian days? 😆

     
    • Myriad

      9.4.2012 at 12:14 pm

      True, but think about it: time is given off around Christmas and Easter (so Spring Break may or may not fall around Ostara), and Sunday is the day that no one works. Not to mention our years are numbered according to the number of years after Christ’s birth. I work in education so I’m particularly sensitive to the fact that the academic calendar is constructed around the days Christians consider to be most holy.

       
      • jonolan

        9.4.2012 at 12:28 pm

        Yes, but most of those days closely coincide with much older holy days, so the calendar really hasn’t changed that much – Christmas / Yule / Saturnalia & Easter / Ostara / Floralia. Even your school year is based upon ages old agrarian needs.

        I’ve got to give you Sundays though – although that particular day of the week and its name are straight out of the cult of Mithra.

        Oh, they try and try – but it’s still basically our calendar, or as close as any solar calendar can be.

         
      • Myriad

        9.4.2012 at 12:44 pm

        I see your point, and we Pagans definitely have it easier (calendrically speaking) than, say, Muslims. But then, Islamic holy days are more prominent in the public consciousness than some of the more ‘obscure’ Pagan holidays. It’s a bit awkward to ask off for Imbolc…”Yeah, see, what you call Groundhog’s Day is actually a really important holiday for me…yeah…no, I’m not a huge Gopher fan, it’s an old Sabbat called…oh, never mind, just get someone to sub for me, will you?”

         
  2. C.D.

    10.4.2012 at 1:36 pm

    What I always found fascinating about easter was that while my french family would await the arrival of “les cloches,” (the bells) everyone else would be waiting for the easter bunny. Don’t people know that the bells bring the eggs from Rome? Come on!
    I’m not sure whether that’s a catholic tradition (as opposed to the protestant bunny?) or a french one. It’s strange, because I usually think of catholicism as more steeped in paganism than protestantism… I wonder whether the bells are more of a step away from the holiday’s pagan roots, or if they have another origin.

     
    • jonolan

      10.4.2012 at 1:51 pm

      It’s a purely French thing, not a Catholic thing. Sort of cool though since the French churches used to silence their bells from Holy Thursday until Easter morning in acknowledgment of Jesus’ time in death.

      To my knowledge, admittedly limited, the French are the only ones to observe this time of silence leading up to Easter.

       
  3. mediakathie

    22.5.2012 at 11:31 pm

    well, after reading a whole lot of your blogs, i have to write you yet again……i think we may be kindred souls, tho i am sure i am much older than you……i am a k-8 librarian in the barrio, and being, well, white, this is always a challenge….i read about you and your friend in the magical ren-fairish place speaking spanish…..mine is only passing…….and then i realized we had the pagan connection…..when my daughter was seven, she was the solstice child at a celebration, but now she is a christian…..i take comfort that even marion zimmer bradley returned to the church at the end of her life, and that once, witches and christians DID coexist in peace, and that starhawk taught with a priest (of course, the priest was first silenced, then excommunicated)…..but i digress….a lot……i crochet, rather than knit, was a poet/journal-writing queen for years……lately, i just exist….i don’t do much else, and that is an effort…i feel inspired by your words…..i wanted you to know that you have the ability to touch lives…..your “save the finder” essay/blog (i know i said this already) is truly amazing…….soooo, i wish i knew more about you, your job search, what exactly you do……based on what i read, i wish you a life full of magic…..blessed be!!!

     

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