Easter — What Are You Really Celebrating?
On Sunday many Christian families around the globe will attend a service at a church they only visit on holidays to participate in the Easter celebration. Beyond the remembrance of the resurrection of Christ, Easter is additionally associated with happy children on a decorative egg hunt and their pillaging their pastel baskets of goodies delivered by the Easter bunny.
However, very few know about the true origins of Easter. And let me tell you, it isn’t at all about Jesus.
Let’s start with the name. The identification of the celebration as “Easter” dates back to the name of a Germanic pre-Christian goddess in England, Ēostre, or Ostara, who was celebrated at the dawn of spring. The singular reference to this goddess is derived from the texts of the Anglo-Saxon priest, Venerable Bede, who lived in the late seventh and early eighth century. Alternatively, some historians link the derivation of “Easter” to Astarte, the Phoenician fertility goddess who had the Babylonian equivalent, Ishtar.
What about the Easter Bunny? Hares and rabbits are long-honored symbols of fertility passed down from the ancient ceremonial and symbolism of European and Middle Eastern pagan spring festivals. Charles Isaac Elton held the theory that the egg and rabbit customs were connected to the worship of Ēostre. John Andrew Boyle has quoted other historians as making references to the hare being a companion of Aphrodite, Satyrs, and Cupid.
Where did the decorative Easter eggs originate? Very simply as vestiges of a fertility rite. Certain cultures have adopted the belief that the egg magically grants good health, wealth, joy, and protection.
Why are there Sunrise Services on Easter? These have been connected to rites of ancient sun worshippers performed at the Vernal Equinox, greeting the sun and honoring its inordinate power to bring new life to all elements.
So, is Easter Christian? No. Despite all its magnificence and pageantry, Easter is truly pagan. Its symbols and traditions do not honor Christ Jesus.
Easter today is celebrated religiously and culturally; it is baffling how so many do so without any knowledge of centuries-old contributions from traditions non-Judeo Christian in origin.