This crops up every year somewhere – this time at http://frontiers-of-anthropology.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/the-story-of-eas… … Easter is supposed to be derived from the goddess of spring, Oestra. She was associated with rabbits and eggs, we are led to believe – or is this a mantra that is endlessly repeated that is never checked out properly.
The link is very often made with Ishtar and the idea the goddess that goes down into the Underworld for around 70 days every year (in western Asia rather than elsewhere) and reappears in spring fresh and reinvigorated, transformed into a young nubile goddess figure (after all the excitement downstairs) is somehow identifiable with Oestra, and then used to tell us what all the latter was about, by telling us about the former, and that sort of thing. In other parts of the world there is a similarity with the Sleeping Beauty folk tale, according to some scholars. She gets lots of shut eye during the winter months and wakes up with the arrival of spring (and a handsome fella) just as the green shoots burst into life and nature blossoms from its temporary hibernation.
Parallels could be said to exist with the Christian story of Easter – death and resurrection. In this instance it takes place over a few days – not months.
Whjat does it all mean? Well, a goddess (in the sky) that disappears in the winter months suggests a celestial object that was invisible during that period (falling below the visible horizon). The fact that it reappeared in spring would naturally lead to an association with fertility and rebirth (of everything). From a catastrophist viewpoint, the joyful celebration of spring may also have a darker side, associated with where in its orbit the Goddess was in relation to the Earth and its inhabitants (assuming it was wont to cross the path of the Earth's orbit). Hence, celebrations all round if the Goddess did not threaten, but trepidations all round if it did (by coming close or throwing missiles towards the Earth).
However, this is speculation – not a factoid, and quite unlike the tame mainstream view of Easter origins. Many parts of this hubris are regurgitated over and over again – see for example http://thequeenofheaven.wordpress.com/2012/10/27/ashera-part-i-the-lost-… which brings us to look at the etymology of the name itself as Oes/aus = 'to shine' (brightly) which may have a link to Semitic 'aish' = fire, and the idea that fire existed in the sky, above the dome of heaven (the visible cloak of stars).