Easter and Fertility Symbols

Eggs for Sale, Trionfale Market, Rome

Shiva Lingam, Elephanta Caves, Mumbai

Happy Easter to all my readers. Easter is said to take its name from the Anglosaxon goddess of spring Eostre and some have also associated it with the Assyrian goddess of love and fertility, Ishtar. Apparently, eggs were forbidden during Lent in Medieval Europe and many Easter meals thus featured eggs, not to mention that eggs are symbols of fertility as are rabbits. So, now you have something to ponder as you bite into those chocolate eggs and bunnies! What you may ask has all this got to do with the picture on the left? Symbol of the Hindu god Shiva, it represents the male principle which together with the yoni or female symbol, represents the inseparability of the male and female principles or the totality of creation, one could say the cosmic egg. Nothing to do with Easter but we saw it this day last week while visiting the Elephanta caves on an island off Mumbai and I thought it was very beautiful. Even more beautiful was to see people’s reverence for it with offerings of flower petals, money and coconuts.

Good Friday Parade, College St, Toronto

Of course among Catholics, Easter is associated with the crucifixion of Christ and his resurrection. Here in Toronto, there has been a catholic parade held in our neighbourhood on Good Friday, going back 50 years. Yesterday was a beautiful day and I actually watched the parade in its entirety where I had only seen glimpses in the past. I felt like I was back in Italy as the church which organizes it has a largely Italian congregation so people were praying in Italian as they walked along and singing Italian psalms. What a small world we live in!

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