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How would you explain Easter without referreing it to as the ressurection of Christ?

I've a 3 1/2 year old. Being a single mother and due to my financial situation I live with my super religious parents. I've already given in to allowing my mom to take her for "Sunday School" most because I thought she could meet other children there. With the upcoming Easter holidays I'm begining to wonder how I can explain to my daughter what Easter is without bringing religion in to it. I'm sure she will get a religious explanation in church but I'd like to counter that with a non-religious one. Mostly, I just want her to think for herself and ask questions. I live in a small city in India and other than my brother I have yet to meet another atheist. I've met a lot of people who say "I don't believe in god" simply because they are angry at god because things didn't go as planned not because they really question his existence.

Any suggestions would be more than welcome!

JenniferRoberts 4 Mar 11

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76 comments

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It's as previously mentioned, the time of new birth and renewal. The name is derived from the Nordic goddess Oester, who heralded the beginning of the season.

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It's a celbration of the new life of spring. show her new green grass, show her birds nesting.

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Easter was originally the celebration of Ishtar, the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility and sex. Her symbols (like the egg and bunny) were and still are fertility and sex symbols (or did you actually think eggs and bunnies had anything to do with the resurrection?)

you didn't answer her question. congratulations.

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My favorite youtube clip on religion...

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It should be no problem to explain the children's story of its light-hearted fantasy, being the Easter Bunny and egg decorations, Anything more (as like Christmas with Santa Claus) can either be avoided or if asked by a child - wait for an appropriate age when they can understand the various traditions that are religious affiliated. One thing that many don't actually know from ancient Greek history: the rabbit and decorated eggs were representative of Pagan symbols of sex and fertility.

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Easter is a Pagan celebration, holy day or not. The Catholics grabbed every nature celebration that came their way and "incorporated" each into a pill to innoculate humans into believers

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Annual celebration of spring, renewal, and fertility with roots and tradition in eary pagan religions. Appropriated by Christians for connection of this tradition to their own purposes.

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Just another celebration of Spring in the northern hemisphere. Many traditional cultures celebrate their New Year around this time.

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It's a pagan fertility ritual. Made to honor the goddess Esterk

[en.wikipedia.org]

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Its a very old festival held held at the Spring Equinox to mark the rebirth of life in nature and the joys of the coming harvest after the earth has nurtured the sown seeds. Chase the Easter eggs down the hill because they represents the egg from which Mother Nature gives to the land. Revel in the fun of the Easter bunny for his abundant ability to reproduce, just like Mother Nature.

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I see two choices: first as a celebration of spring and rebirth, or second, the fairy tale "Easter Bunny", etc.

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The spring equinox.

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Pagan Fertility ritual. And candy. Lots of candy.

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Easter is based on the story of the reserection of Jesus. There is no point denying it is based on a religious belief. Just explain to her that some people believe that story and others do not. The easter bunny is based on an old German tradition. Simple honesty is the best approach.

No it's not. It's just another pagan festival hijacked by christians in order to "stamp out" other relgions. Oestre - fertility, etc. You can look it up.

So why didn’t you use simple honesty?

easter is actually based on ishtar, pronounced the same as easter, from scientific american: "Easter was originally the celebration of Ishtar, the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility and sex. Her symbols (like the egg and bunny) were and still are fertility and sex symbols (or did you actually think eggs and bunnies had anything to do with the resurrection?)" [blogs.scientificamerican.com] the fact that christians coopted the celebration (keeping the name, if not its spelling) doesn't mean that the holiday is "based on" the resurrection of "christ." it means it's been CHANGED to represent that.

g

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Tell her that it's a marketing ploy to boost sales in an otherwise flat time of year when consumer spending is low as they await their tax returns.

Then throw in that Christianity is a bullshit collection of various ancient myths, all geared towards control and consolidation of power and wealth. Move into how Christianity launched numerous Crusades and Inquisitions against Infidels and Non-Believers.

Tell her the chocolate was likely not Fair-Trade and some child, roughly her age, has been slaving away for years to pick beans to make chocolate that they have no experience eating since they cannot afford it.

Launch into how the eggs were likely factory farmed, the chickens horribly mistreated, and likely dosed with a wide range of anitbiotics to that they can live, de-beaked, in mass pens where the dead pile up until removed.

The plastic grass in her plastic basket likely came from China and, as it's non-recyclable, will end up either in a landfill or the growing mass of plastic in the Pacific, where it chokes and kills sealife.

Start there. Let me know how it goes. Happy Easter!

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Equinox

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After the dark winter and long nights without very much to eat except what they had stored, the peopel in olden days welcomed the warmer weather and the hens, coming in to lay , giving us fresh eggs and so they made a celebration and a feast - and now we can go to a store and buy pretty fancy chocolate eggs to remember, that the seasons change and life always begins afresh The grass always greens up and we can play in the warming sun. The change from harsh winter to the green shoots of spring and the warmer days makes us feel more energetic - so we all change a little when the seasons change

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An ancient, Pagan ritual celebrating Spring and rebirth. (Ishtar)
Eggs. Chicks. Rabbits. All symbols of FERTILITY.

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Easter was a pagan goddess, you could start there.

Oestre, from whom we get our word oestrogen. For once it's all about us girls!

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Hmm..I like a challenge. You need to explain to someone who is 3.5 years old easter without mentioning Jesus. Ok how about this:

There was a guy. There is a holiday near the day he died since he was really important. Like a birthday but close to the day he died instead.

But that would be lying to the child. Tell them the truth - pagan festival hijacked by the religiots. It's easier than you think, and helps them on their way to questioning everything.

@GoldenDoll but the holiday pre-dates the pagan methods of practicing it. Which means what I said is the truth.

@engineer_in_nj Not strictly so as one of the oldest rebirth and fertility myths recorded is the Sumerian myth of Innana circa 2100 BCE. Around 1500 years later we find her morphed into Ishtar in Babylonia and grafted on to Pesach or Passover after the Babylonian exile. It is true, however that the connection with Eostre, the Germanic goddess was reported by Bede. She was the deity for the Anglo-Saxon Spring festival with her rites being re-interpreted by Christians replacing it with Passover. I am not aware that we can show that the Eostre rites are pre-Christian but Bede does state that Passover replaces the rites of Eostre so the implication would be that this is so.

@Geoffrey51 so what? Some guy made a claim, that isnt proof of anything. I don't know it seems you are working really hard here to ignore the evidence right in-front of you. Easter is a christian holiday that came from a jewish one, it probably has some pagan roots here and there but its a bit like calling English a derivative of Korean since English has some Korean words. Why is it so hard to take the simple explanation?

We know Passover is ancient. We know that early christians celebrated it like Passover. Lets just leave it like that instead of finding some random mofo somewhere who claims that some group he never met invented a holiday that went backwards in time by some method.

@engineer_in_nj Who is "Some guy [who] made a claim"?

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Perhaps describe it as a celebration of the return of Spring and all the new born things, i.e., baby animals, budding plants and flowers, trees sprouting new leaves.

Pagan festival of the goddess Oestre.

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How would I explain Easter? OK, let's try this in a way that every child will believe it and it fits together. When they took Jesus down from the cross there was a rabbit. He wasn't afraid and he bothered everybody. He wanted to make a bunny trail. Then they put Jesus in the tomb and somebody slit the rabbit's throat and threw him in there too. A guard said "silly rabbit ." no wait. That is something else again.
Then Jesus and the rabbit went off to basic training together. Then they came back.They became good friends and the rabbit had a basket full of eggs. Jesus smiled and carried the rabbit and his basket around everywhere. Eggs were given to the faithful if they could find them. Each year people would watch closely just to see what Jesus and the rabbit were going to do.
But if they see their shadow . . . . . . . . . .

Or just tell them the truth.

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Btw, we are part of a Unitarian Universalist congregation. The UU church in Detroit (where we used to live) was mostly Humanist. Our new congregation in has more Catholics, but the teachings are all secular. The Religious Education program for children helps to explain a lot of this. You might want to find a UU congragation near you. You could take your daughter to Sunday School on your own terms without coming out to your family right away.

Do they tell the kids the truth? That is was the pagan goddess Oestre's fertility festival hijacked by the christians?

@GoldenDoll yes they do! My son is only 4, but my friend's kids are older and preparing for their coming of age ceremonies. It's very uplifting to hear them discuss what they've leaned. Two already identify as Atheist, and one identifies as polytheistic. All their own choice.

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I just had this talk with my 4yo a couple of weeks ago. My family is also very religious, but we live in another state, not in the same house. We talked about the Spring Equinox and how when people don't understand something, they use magic to explain it. I didn't say anything about Jesus or Christianity. I told him about Ostara, the European Pagan goddess and the celebration in her name involving rabbits and eggs. It seemed to help. I'll explain more as he gets older.

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Easter: yet another lame religious ritual without the common decency to be scheduled on a Monday.

See also: vernal equinox.

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