There is a lot of controversy surrounding this rather popular holiday, but why?
In his reconstruction of the faith, Bede talks about a possible Old Germanic Goddess, Eostre, from the name ôstarâ and the month ôstarmânoth, not Eosturmanoth in Germany. So the stretch isn't a long one, especially considering that in my own studies I have found that almost every month holds some kind of Blôt. The problem is, this is not backed up in any other known texts, such as Germania by Tacitus, or in any art from the time. In fact, the only other text to mention her was by Jacob Grimm, which was based off of Bede's reconstruction. However, it is plausible she existed in some form given that she was important enough to name a month after. Could it be possible that they were just naming the season though? We trace the root of her name to "East" often referring to dawn or spring time.
While some regard his book on German mythology to be a good reference, you'll find that much of it could be considered as influenced by his time and opinions rather than fact. He made the connection between Bede's shortly mentioned goddess Eostre and Easter then proclaiming her Ôstarâ. In fact, the earliest known story about her and a hare came about from the 19th century in the Ukraine. Now, while the Easter Bunny does trace back to Germany, this still isn't enough evidence to convince me that she was a goddess.
My Personal Conclusion:
I don't think Eostre was a Goddess. I believe that the Proto-Germanic tribes did worship the sun and fertility though, which is seen through their worship of goddessess like Freyja and Nerthus, along with the twins Alcis. I do think that this time was a celebration of the sun itself and the lengthening of days. We see around this time Nerthus being paraded and the Charming of the Plow, so it's very likely that this was just a continuation of that celebration. Or that one holiday was one month and the other this month, like I said they usually have something almost every full moon. There is also no known worship of any Goddess throughout the evolution of the Proto-Germanic Traditions and with something like that being rather important to the Germans, you'd expect her to show up in later forms such as through the Norse. So my conclusion is simple, celebrate spring, the dawn of the year.
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