After the formation of the Christian church, the worship of the old deities and the old ways were banned and the nature festivals supplanted by Christian ones. The Christians were pragmatic, however, and Pope Gregory, who sent St Augustine to England in AD 597, acknowledged that it was simpler to graft the Christian festivals on to the existing festivals of the solstices and equinoxes. So, Easter, for example, was celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox, which is where it remains today.
In the same way, the crosses on the hot cross buns that we eat on Good Friday were originally the ancient astrological signs for the Earth, and were eaten to absorb the power and fertility of Mother Earth. Hot cross buns were still thought to retain their magical qualities until the early decades of the nineteenth century and were said to offer protection against drowning. For this reason, hot cross buns were hung from the roofs of coastal churches where their remains can still be seen. The old ways did not die quickly, however, and so for centuries the two religions co-existed as people gradually transferred their allegiance from the Earth Mother, or Mother Goddess, to the Virgin Mary and the female saints.
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