It's Easter time. A time for the trading of chocolate and eggs, Bunnies and hot-crossed buns. For a Christian it's also the time to celebrate the horrible torture, and Crucifixion of Jesus, and his subsequent resurrection and Ascension. As far as I can tell, there is no reason for an atheist to put much emphasis on this holiday. At least no more or less than Halloween. Christmas has the "togetherness" ideal to fall back on when religion is removed, but Easter only has chocolate, or fertility.
The origin of Easter stems from the beliefs and fertility rites of the Babylonians, Phrygians, Phoenicians, Israelites, Anglo-Saxons or any other number of others. The name "Easter" could originate from the Babylonian Goddess Ishtar (pronounced Easter) or perhaps the Saxon god of fertility Eostre. The symbols within modern day Easter also have ancient roots. The eggs and rabbits are symbols of fertility and tied to Ostara. Painting the eggs was known in ancient Egypt and seen as a symbol of rebirth from the mouth of gods. The Hot-crossed buns were carried over from the Saxons. An ox was sacrificed and the horns were symbolic of the feast. They were carved into the bread, in reverence. And as for chocolate, that's new. But who doesn't love chocolate?
As for me, an Atheist, Easter is an excuse to get out of work, eat chocolate and ham. Adding another value to it has helped others alleviate any guilt in taking a holiday for no real reason, but it really isn't necessary. Personally, I feel that four special holidays per year should be observed: Christmas, Easter, New Year and Halloween. I observe these as a break from the rest of my life, to relax and enjoy myself, but mostly to save my sanity. I've been told that because I'm atheist, I shouldn't observe Christmas or Easter, but to hell with them, I enjoy these holidays for their recreational and celebratory aspects, even if not for their 'traditional' religious reasons. Until next time,
crites evidentia logica