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Adrian Bott @Cavalorn
, 19 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Here's a big thread on Easter not being a hijacked Pagan festival. Feel free to ask for sources in the event that I forget to cite them.
Let's start with the basics. How do we know Easter was not a hijacked pagan festival?

Paradoxically, we can do this by trying to prove that it *was.*
Now, we know there was no one people known as 'the pagans'. There was, rather, an abundance of non-Christian polytheistic belief systems, differing from region to region. The Anglo-Saxon pagans, for example, would not have worshipped the same Gods as the ancient Irish pagans.
So the first question is, if Easter is a stolen pagan festival, then which specific pagans was it stolen from? Going by the name - Easter, allegedly derived from the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre - the only possible candidate is the Anglo-Saxons.
Logically, then, the earliest possible date on which Easter can have been stolen from the pagans is 596, since that was the date on which the first Christian missionaries began to convert the Anglo-Saxons. See Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People, written in 791 CE
And that's where our theory falls apart; because Easter was already being celebrated long before 596, under its original name of Pesach. In fact, Easter had been celebrated since the 2nd Century. (See Melito of Sardis, Homily on the Pascha.)
In fact, Pascha was already so well established by the time the missionaries arrived in pagan England that the chief missionary, Augustine, had a major spat with the neighbouring 'Celtic' Church about the proper date to celebrate it on. (Also Bede.)
Okay, so why do we call it Easter? That was the name of a Goddess, right? Surely that's evidence that the Church nicked the name of an existing festival in order to make conversion easier?
Granted, we have documentary evidence that Gregory the Great (who sent the missionaries to England) did indeed recommend a policy of acculturation - but he did *not* recommend the adoption of pagan festivals, and as we've seen, Pesach was already long established.
Gregory recommends that well-built pagan temples should be repurposed for Christian use, & converts should be allowed to keep on slaughtering and eating animals on sacred occasions, just not as a sacrifice. But both these things were governed by the existing Christian calendar.
Furthermore, mere missionaries simply did not have the authority to add new festivals to the Church calendar. Regardless of how helpful they might have found it to hijack the feast day of Garthog the Colossally Endowed and rebrand it as Twinklemas, they were not allowed to.
And the Pope did not add a new festival to the Church calendar without adding it for the ENTIRE Church. So why should Christians in, say, Rome have a new festival added for the sake of the new converts in Kent?
Here's the reason why we English call Pascha 'Easter'. According to Bede, the Anglo-Saxons DID have a festival called Eostur in honour of the Goddess Eostre. It happened in the fourth lunar month of the year.
Bede doesn't explicitly say so, but it's highly likely that the full moon of that lunar month marked the opening of the six months of summer; we know that the full moon of the month Winterfilleth opened winter, and the Eostur-month is six months away.
So the Anglo-Saxons are accustomed to getting together on the full moon of the fourth lunar month for a major festival that they call Eostur. It's a feast over multiple days; a very big deal to them.
Now, the Christian celebration of Pascha is also linked to the full moon, according to a system of calculation that comes down via an entirely different route, and has its roots in Passover. (The old Hebrew calendar used lunar months, too.)
So the English converts call Pascha 'Eostur' through sheer force of habit. It's 'the big get-together on the fourth full moon of the year, when we do some religion then eat lots of roast ox.' (The English are still eating roast meat on Easter to this day; quite pagan of us.)
But why would the English people call a Christian festival by a different name to that which their priests called it? Well, the official language of the Church was Latin, and we spoke Old English. So it makes sense that we'd go on using our old familiar name.
Not everyone in Britain did call Pascha 'Easter', of course. In some places it was called 'Pace', a much more obvious derivation of Pascha. Hence 'pace-egging'.

So no, Easter wasn't 'hijacked'. We English are just creatures of habit.

End of thread. Thankyouverymudge.
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