Easter & the Autumn Equinox

A recent discussion on SAFM looked at the question of whether African religion celebrates Easter. According to Dr. Mathole Motshekga, the chairperson of the Kara Heritage Institute, the story of Easter relates to one of the four stations of the sun. March sees the arrival of the autumn equinox in the Southern Hemisphere, and the spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. As the equator runs across its middle, Africa experiences both, and has celebrated the arrival of both autumn and spring since the earliest of times.

A woman harvesting potatoes
A woman harvesting potatoes

Traditionally the autumn equinox marked the start of the harvesting period and the storing of food for the winter, known as the Faro Season. The third season of the year not only represented harvest and prosperity, but also the death and rebirth of the divine king symbolised by the Son of the Sun (Sa-Ra). According to Dr Motshekga, the death and resurrection of Jesus can be viewed as a metaphor for the death of the sun in the Southern Hemisphere, and its rebirth in the Northern Hemisphere.

Obviously there are many people who take a far more literal view of the story of the crucifixion, but it is always interesting to read about other view points. For further information visit the Kara Heritage website to read the full article on ‘The importance of the Autumn Equinox in the African Calendar’.

Image courtesy of www.cropscience.bayer.co.za


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