Much like Christmas and Halloween, Easter and the traditions that surround it have actually very little to do with Jesus or Christianity and a lot more to do with how our ancestors rationalized the natural world around them with respect to the movement of celestial bodies and the change in seasons.
Accordingly, many traditions and costumes have developed along various human tribes and cultures in response to these changes in the natural world. Changes all humans could observe but not really explain.
Our ancestors, not possessing the technological and scientific knowledge and advances that we posses today - and which allow us to analyze and understand what we observe, created a world filled with deities, myths and legends in order to understand and rationalize the world around them.
Understanding the changes in the seasons and thus the cycle of life – from the fruitful and warm months of the spring and summer to the dark, frigid and cold months of the fall and winter – is one example to the point. Easter and the Spring Equinox stand in contrast to the Fall Equinox and the traditions and symbolism found in Halloween and Christmas. And all follow the rhythm of this planet.
While Halloween and Christmas are traditions marking the end of the light season of the year where the days get shorter and the nights longer, thus commemorating the beginning of the “dark” season, Easter represents the end of the “dark” part of the year and the beginning of the light season, when the sun seems to awaken from its winter’s sleep bringing with it new life and seemingly new hope. Spring.
Use of Symbolism in Religion
The use of symbolism in religion is a universally established phenomenon. Archeologist Steven Mithen contends that it is common for religious practices to involve the creation of images and symbols to represent supernatural beings and ideas. Because supernatural beings violate the principles of the natural world, there will always be difficulty in communicating and sharing supernatural concepts with others. This problem can be overcome by anchoring these supernatural beings in material form through representational art and customs. When translated into material form, supernatural concepts become easier to communicate and understand.
Throughout history, human tribes and chiefdoms – in response to the movement and rotation of the Earth in relation to the sun and with it the creation of the seasons and various other biological facts, have developed a myriad of traditions and practices honoring and commemorating such changes.
Supreme celestial deities occur in many mythologies, with various qualities and attributes, in many shapes, and with great diversity in cultic significance.
Celestial bodies, such as the sun, moon and Earth itself, were ascribed to various deities who represented such celestial bodies and/or were in direct control of them, such as the Goddess of the sun who is celebrated as the months of March and April bring us the Spring Equinox, when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the center of the Sun being in the same plane as the Earth’s equator.
Natural disasters in the form of droughts, hurricanes, thunderstorms and other similar phenomena were attributed to the failure of properly worshiping and serving such deities.
Easter a Pagan Tradition
Much like Halloween - and following it Christmas – represent the end of the light season of the year and the beginning of the dark season, fall and then winter, where the days become short and the nights longer. Spring represents the opposite.
All Hallows Eve - also known as Halloween – which was originally influenced by Western European harvest festivals and festivals of the dead, particularly the Celtic Samhain marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the Winter Solstice - is a festival to bid farewell to the light part of the year in order to welcome the dark. Halloween and Christmas are examples of such pagan traditions and the reason why we celebrate Halloween and subsequently Christmas (even though Christmas is associated with Jesus, while Halloween isn’t, although it very well may be).
In fact, the Winter solstice accounts for the selection of Christmas day as December 25th. People noticed that in late December the the days became noticeably shorter and that the sun ceased its movement to the south. The Winter solstice was celebrated for the birth of the sun.
When Christianity began being forced on people and took over other religious and spiritual beliefs, especially the pagan traditions of above, those traditions were often preserved and carried over but now they were celebrated in the name of the new God, Jesus Christ.
In a way Christians fused the old pagan traditions with Christianity, with the “desired” effect of getting more converts that way. That they picked Christmas to fulfill their religiosity and not All Hallow’s Eve is completely arbitrary as both are pagan traditions celebrating the transition of the seasons.
Similarly, while Easter is the annual festival observed throughout Christendom in commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannlca confirms that “there is no indication of the observance of the Easter festival in the New Testament, or in the writings of the apostolic Fathers. The sanctity of special times was an idea absent from the minds of the first Christians.” (1910, Vol. VIII, p. 828).
The Catholic Encyclopedia tells us that “a great many pagan customs, celebrating the return of spring, gravitated to Easter. The egg is the emblem of the germinating life of early spring. . . . The rabbit is a pagan symbol and has always been an emblem of fertility.” (1913, Vol. V, p. 227).
Nowhere does the Bible indicate that early Christians observed either a weekly Sunday or a yearly Easter to commemorate Christ’s resurrection. In fact, and according to the fictitious Bible itself, the night before he died, Christ ordered quite a different celebration. He served his disciples a simple meal of wine and bread and commanded them to “keep doing this in remembrance of [him].” (Luke 22:19). It was thus Christ’s death, not his resurrection, that Jesus wanted memorialized. Jesus served this meal on the night of the Jewish Passover meal—a yearly celebration of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. (Matthew 26:19, 20, 26-28) Obviously, Jesus intended to replace the Passover with a yearly serving of this memorial meal. However, neither Easter nor any other celebration was commanded by Christ.
Celebrating the Spring equinox has for millennia been an important cultural tradition of many human tribes beginning from the Bronze age. In fact, celebrating the beginning of spring may be among the oldest holidays in human culture. Occurring every year on March 20, 21, or 22, the Spring equinox marks the end of winter and the beginning of Spring. Biologically and culturally, it represents for northern climates the end of the “dead” season and the rebirth of life, as well as the importance of fertility and reproduction.
Origins of the Name Easter
The name Easter (German Ostern) is derived from old Teutonic mythology. According to Bede (De Temp. Rat. c. xv.) it is derived from Eostre, or Ostdra, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of dawn, spring and fertility to whom the month of April, called Eostur-monath, was dedicated. This month, Bede says, was the same as the mensis paschalis, “when the old festival was observed with the gladness of a new solemnity.”
“Easter is a word of Saxon origin and imparts a goddess of the Saxons, or rather, of the East, Estera, in honor of whom sacrifices being annually offered about the Passover time of the year (spring), the name became attached by association of ideas to the Christian festival of the resurrection, which happened at the time of the Passover.” (Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, “Easter,” p.12).
The name of the festival in other languages (as Fr. padques; Ital. pasqua; Span. pascha; Dan. paaske; Dutch paasch; Welsh pasg) is derived from the Latin pascha with its Hebrew name being Passover. Passover is the Hebrew festival celebrating the exodus out of Egypt and slavery, where in an act of divine love, Yahweh’s spirit killed the innocent firstborn of every family, except for the Hebrews’ (naturally. That explains the whole “god’s chosen people” crap and totally makes me wanna join this faith) who had painted their doorways with lamb’s blood, allowing the angel of death to recognize and avoid those homes.
An erroneous derivation of the word pascha from the Greek ircthx iv, “ to suffer,” thus connected with the sufferings or “passion” of Christ, was given by some of the Fathers of the Church, as Irenaeus, Tertullian and others, who were ignorant of Hebrew.
The word Easter appears once in the King James version of the Bible where Herod has put Peter in prison, “intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people” (Acts 12:4). Yet in the original Greek text the word is not Easter, but Pesach, that is Passover.
Celebrating Sun Gods and Spring
In his Dictionary of Word Origins, Joseph Shipley writes that “Easter [...] is from Anglo Saxon Eostre, a pagan goddess whose festival came at the spring equinox. The festival was called Eastron (plural of Eastre). The Christian festival of the resurrection of [Messiah] has in most European languages taken the name of the Jewish Passover (Fr. Paques, It. Pasqua, from Latin pascha…); but in English the pagan word has remained for the Christian festival.” (p.131)
Before she was Eastre, the idol was called Ishtar (pronounced by the Assyrians and Babylonians as we do Easter).
Ishar and Eostre
Ishtar (alias Semiramis) was the wife of Nimrod, the priest-king and founder of Babylon. She was the first “deified woman” (Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons, p. 304). The Greeks worshiped her as Aphrodite and the Romans as Venus –goddess of love.
Ishtar is the Mesopotamian Semiticgoddess whose Greek name is Astarte and whose Sumerian name is Inanna. She has been known throughout the Near East and Eastern Mediterranean from the early Bronze Age to Classical times. She was connected with fertility, sexuality, and war. She was accepted by the Greeks under the name of Aphrodite or, alternatively, Artemis. A trace of this among the Hebrews appears in Deutronomy vii. 13, xxviii. 4, 18, where the lambs are called the “ashtarot” of the flock.
Ishtar was the Queen of ancient Babylon and in Phoenician countries the female counterpart of Baal, and was no doubt worshiped with him by those Hebrews who at times became his devotees. This is proven by the fact that Baalim and Ashtaroth are used several times (Judges x. 6; I Sam. vii. 4, xii. 10) like the Assyrian “ilani u ishtarati” for “gods and goddesses.”
Before the establishment of Judaism and all the other world religions that followed, Israelites were just like any other human tribe worshiping various deities whose images they carved in stone based on their perceived association with certain archetypes and/or their dominion over certain aspects of nature, such as Earth, the Heavens, the seas, Sun, light and darkness.
Asherah/Asherim, a major northwest Semitic mother goddess, was such a deity who was made of wood carved from a type of evergreen tree. Often they were set up in Canaanite homes as full trees cut down from a forest.
The Asherim normally were highly acknowledged during certain specific occasions. They were the fertility gods of the Spring Equinox, when the days and nights were approximately the same in length, signifying the beginning of living things growing for the summer season. A very common practice in the Canaanite religion was performed on the first Sunday of the equinox. The families would face east to await the rising of the sun, which was the chief symbol of the sun god, Ba’al. Later on during the day, the children of the Canaanite parents would often go and hunt for eggs, which were symbolic of sex, fertility and new life.
Alexander Hislop, in The Two Babylons (p.103) said that “Easter bears its Chaldean origin on its forehead. Easter is nothing else than Asarte, one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven…”
Rabbits and Eggs, Sun Gods Have Nothing To Do With Christ
Although Easter is a Christian festival, it embodies traditions of an ancient time antedating the rise of Christianity according to Funk and Wagnalls Standard Reference Encyclopedia. The “Eastre monath” (Easter month) was dedicated to Eastre, the Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility. Her festival was celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox, and traditions associated with the festival survive in the familiar Easter bunny, symbol of the fertile rabbit, and in the equally familiar colored Easter eggs originally painted with gay hues to represent the sunlight of spring.
It was believed that eggs came from rabbits, which in the pagan tradition were symbolic of lust, sexual prowess and reproduction.
The Canaanites, however, were not the only ones who worshiped rabbits as deities. The Egyptians and the Persians (Babylon) also held rabbits in high esteem because they believed that rabbits first came from the divine Phoenix birds, who once ruled the ancient skies until they were attacked by other gods in a power struggle. When they were struck down, they reincarnated into rabbits, but kept the ability to produce eggs like the ancient birds to show their origins.
Other stories concerning the egg rose later in the Middle Ages by the Anglo-Saxons, where they believed the origin of the Universe had the earth being hatched out of an enormous egg. Decorating eggs came about to honor their pagan gods and were often presented as gifts to other families to bring them fertility and sexual success during the coming year.
Hot cross buns also have little to do with Jesus. “Cakes” is the Hebrew kavvan, meaning a sacrificial cake, which was “used in worship of Ishtar“ according to the The New Brown, Driver, and Brlggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (p. 467). These “cakes” survive as today’s hot cross buns — an Easter tradition on which are marked crosses, the symbol for woman. In hieroglyphics the cross is a symbol for life.
This ancient queen of heaven was the mother of life, the heathen believed. Even though the early church clergy tried to put a stop to sacred cakes being baked at Easter – as that was considered sacrilegious, in the end they gave up and blessed the cake – which is a traditional Easter food today.
In fact, in its effort to join pagan with Bible believers, the early church accommodated many pagan observances, finding common dates on which to merge, much like the pagan traditions surrounding Christmas that were eventually co-opted into Christian traditions. In the case of Easter, the Roman Catholic Church adopted the Asherah worship and named it Easter around 155 A.D.
Easter & Zoroastrianism
As mentioned above, celebrating the spring equinox and thus the new season is a tradition many human cultures have shared. Traditions that have become the foundation of organized religion as we know it today.
The earliest such reference we have to a similar holiday as Easter comes to us from Babylon (Persia) circa 2400 BCE. The city of Ur had a celebration dedicated to the moon and the spring equinox which was held some time during the months of March or April.
During the spring equinox Zoroastrians and Persians continue to celebrate “Nowruz,” (literally “new day”) the New Year, which marks the first day of Spring and the beginning of the year in the Iranian calendar. It is celebrated on the day of the astronomical Northward Equinox, which usually occurs on March 21 or the previous/following day depending on where it is observed. As well as being a Zoroastrian holiday and having significance amongst the Zoroastrian ancestors of modern Iranians, it is also celebrated in parts of the South Asian sub-continent as the new year. The moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator and equalizes night and day is calculated exactly every year and iranian families gather together to observe the rituals.
This date is commemorated by the last remaining Zoroastrians and probably constitutes the oldest celebration in the history of the world.
The traditional table setting of Nowruz includes some specific items such as sombol (hyacinth plant), sekkeh (coins representing wealth), aajeel (dried nuts, berries and raisins), lit candles (enlightenment and happiness), a mirror (cleanness and honesty), decorated eggs (fertility) and traditional Iranian pastries like baghlava.
Christ the Sacrificial Lamb of Passover
A great controversy arose between the Catholic Church (as in between human beings, nothing divine) and the Greek Orthodox Church in 325 A.D. on whether to celebrate Easter on Sundays or on whatever day the Jewish Passover fell upon. The Greeks lost a lot of followers and the Catholics contended that keeping Easter on Sundays would stimulate the practices of both the Christian world and the pagan worshipers. Since the original practice of Asherah worship we now have in our time the celebration of Easter, a counterfeit holiday to the true Christian festival of the Passover which was instituted in the Bible and completed in the New Testament when Christ died on the cross as the Passover Lamb.
“For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians,5:7) In other words, the Christian’s passover is similar to the Jewish Passover. However, instead of sacrificing lambs and using their blood on the doorway to be saved, Jesus becomes the sacrificial lamb when he is crucified, saving all those who follow him, the Christians.
In 325 CE the Council of Nicaea decided that the Easter date would be the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the March equinox. Easter is therefore delayed one week if the full moon is on Sunday, which lessens the likelihood of it falling on the same day as the Jewish Passover. Eastern Orthodox churches in many countries such as Greece still figure their Easter date based on the Julian calendar.
The Bible Doesn’t Tolerate Pagan Abominations
Revelation tells us that Babylon is the mother of all false worship, and Revelation 14:8 says that Babylon caused all nations to partake in her spiritual unfaithfulness. Our society didn’t escape Babylon’s influence regarding the Easter observance, either.
The Easter sunrise service is common today. But how many who participate realize the ancient tradition they are really keeping alive — adoration of the sun-god Ishtar?
Ezekiel gives this sobering account of what god thinks of this custom employed in worship of Him:
“Then said he unto me, Have you seen this, O son of man? turn you yet again, and you shall see greater abominations than these. And he brought me into the inner court of YEHOVAH’s house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of YEHOVAH between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of YEHOVAH, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east. Then he said unto me, Have you seen [this], O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose. Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, [yet] will I not hear them.” (Ezekiel 8:15-18)
God will one day teach mankind that He is the only true Mighty One. They will learn — through plague, if necessary — that pagan abominations will not be tolerated. And man will one day discover what True Worship is all about and what blessings can be his if he will only be obedient not to the world — but to the Word.
Nothing Christian About Easter
Easter eggs and bunnies and the Spring equinox have as much to do with Christ as Christmas trees, mistletoe and the fall equinox and winter solstice. In fact, there is really nothing Christian or Biblical about forty days of Lent, decorated trees in your homes, engraved images and symbols of Ba’al and Ishtar, the sun Gods, the use of Evergreen and mistletoe, the latter of which Pagan priests (Druids) used to conjure black magic in love potions, “sunrise services”, Santa Clause, decorated eggs, rabbits, hot cross buns and the Easter ham symbolizing and worshiping the Goddess Ēostre.
These things, however, have everything to do with the ancient pagan traditions of Babylon and Mesopotamia. Engaging in such activities makes professing Christians nothing but idolaters.
Since Christians are so apt at condemning non-believers and especially atheists to the various levels of the Inferno, I would like to remind them that the worship of and engaging in such very Pagan practices, from Christmas all the way through the supposedly holiest of all Christian holidays, Easter, has neither anything to do with Jesus nor does it make for a one way ticket to the Pearly Gates. What it does, however, is guarantee a sure way to secure yourselves, oh faithful people, a seat right up there with the rest of us. You have to be in an intellectual coma to not realize that the practice of such things goes against the very book you uphold so highly and which you are more than happy to slap in everyone’s face to judge them and justify all sorts of atrocities. Happy Ēostre!