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Rabbits, Eggs and Hot Cross Buns
To become more informed about the origins of “Easter” one needs only to “Google” the word “Easter” and go to many different web sites to learn about 1) the origin of Easter, 2) how the date of Easter was originally determined, 3) the traditions associated with Easter, and 4) Easter’s association with Passover. The information listed in this article can be found on more than one web site with Sacred Names used in place of the original pagan names.
Origin of the Name “Easter”
From an article by Larry Boemler, “Asterah and Easter,” Biblical Archaeology Review, Vol. 18, Number 3, 1992 – May/June the following appeared:
“The name ‘Easter’ originated with the names of an ancient Goddess and God. The Venerable Bede (672-735 CE.), a Christian scholar, first asserted in his book De Ratione Temporum that Easter was named after Eostre (a.k.a. Eastre). She was the Great Mother Goddess of the Saxon people in Northern Europe. Similarly, The ‘Teutonic dawn goddess of fertility [was] known variously as Ostare, Ostara, Ostern, Eostra, Eostre, Eostur, Eastra, Eastur, Astron and Ausos.’ Her name was derived from the ancient word for spring: ‘eastre.’ Similar Goddesses were known by other names in ancient cultures around the Mediterranean, and were celebrated in the springtime. Some were:
1. Aphrodite from ancient Cyprus,
2. Ashtoreth from ancient Israel,
3. Astarte from ancient Greece,
4. Demeter from Mycenae,
5. Hathor from ancient Egypt,
6. Ishtar from Assyria,
7. Kali from India, and
8. Ostara, a Norse Goddess of fertility.”
“An alternate explanation has been suggested. The name given by the Frankish church to [Yahshua’s] resurrection festival included the Latin word ‘alba’ which means ‘white.’ (This was a reference to the white robes that were worn during the festival.)
“Easter is an English word derived from the name of a Germanic Goddess, and you won’t get any argument from me if you think the word should be deprecated because of its association with pagan fertility rites. On the other hand, the Old Testament book of Esther is named after a Jewish heroine who bore the name of the goddess Ishtar! In the ancient Church, the celebration of the Resurrection was called Passover. Today, Orthodox Christians call this holiday the Pasch (as in paschal lamb), which is the Greek word for Passover.” (Copyright ©2003 by the Rev. Kenneth W. Collins.)
Origin of the Date of Easter
“From 31 A.D. to 325 A.D. Easter Day was celebrated either:
(a) on or just after the first day of the Jewish Passover (no matter on which day of the week that Easter Day occurred), or
(b) on a Sunday close to or on the first Passover Day.
Both of these methods existed continuously throughout this period.” (Copyright © 1996-2002 Astronomical Society of South Australia, Inc. All rights reserved.)
“Prior to A.D. 325, Easter was variously celebrated on different days of the week, including Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. In that year, the Council of Nicaea was convened by Emperor Constantine. It issued the Easter Rule which states that Easter shall be celebrated on the first Sunday that occurs after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox. However, a caveat must be introduced here. The ‘full moon’ in the rule is the ecclesiastical full moon, which is defined as the fourteenth day of a tabular lunation, where day 1 corresponds to the ecclesiastical New Moon. It does not always occur on the same date as the astronomical full moon. The ecclesiastical ‘vernal equinox’ is always on March 21. Therefore, Easter must be celebrated on a Sunday between the dates of March 22 and April 25.” (Copyright © 2003 by Jerry Wilson. Used with permission.)
“Easter Sunday, from 326 A.D., is always one of the 35 days March 22 to April 25. From 326 A.D. to 1582 A.D. Easter Sunday date was based on the Julian calendar in use at that time. It became defined as the Sunday following the Paschal Full Moon date for the year, using a simple ‘19 PFM dates’ table. PFM stands for the Paschal Full Moon.
“The Julian calendar was replaced by the Gregorian calendar in October 1582 to re-align March 20 (and therefore Easter) with the seasons by removing 10 days October 5 to 14, 1582. This replacement did not occur until later in many countries, e.g., in September 1752 in England. The Gregorian calendar very closely maintains the alignment of seasons and calendar dates by having leap years in only 1 of every 4 century years, namely, those divisible exactly by 400. One additional February 29 date will need to be removed in about 4140 A.D., therefore Easter calculations will need to use the changed Days of Week of PFM dates when the exact year for this removal is decided.
“From 326 A.D., the Easter Sunday Date for any given year is NOT determined by the March Equinox date for that year. March 20 (not March 21) is the most common Gregorian Equinox date from 1583 to 4099 A.D.
“Historically, references to March 21 have caused mistakes in calculating Easter Sunday dates. March 20 has become the important date in recent Easter dating methods. Despite frequent references to March 21, this date has no special significance to any recent Easter dating methods.” (Copyright © 1996-2002 Astronomical Society of South Australia, Inc. All rights reserved.)
The timing of the Christian celebration of Easter is linked to the Jewish celebration of the Passover. Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were observed by the ancient Israelites early in each new year. (The Jewish people followed the Persian/Babylonian calendar and started each year with the Spring Equinox circa MAR-21.)
"Equinox" means ‘equal night;’ on that date of the year, the night and day are approximately equal. The name ‘Passover’ was derived from the actions of the angel of death as described in the book of Exodus. The angel ‘passed over’ the homes of the Israelites which were marked with the blood obtained from a ritual animal sacrifice. The same angel exterminated the first born(s) of every family whose doorway was not so marked. Victimized were first-born sons as well as the first-born of domesticated animals.
Pagan Origins of Easter
Since its conception as a holy celebration in the second century, Easter has had its non-religious side. In fact, Easter was originally a pagan festival.
“The ancient Saxons celebrated the return of spring with an uproarious festival commemorating their goddess of offspring and of springtime, Eastre. When the second-century Christian missionaries encountered the tribes of the north with their pagan celebrations, they attempted to convert them to Christianity. They did so, however, in a clandestine manner.
“As it happened, the pagan festival of Eastre occurred at the same time of year as the Christian observance of the Resurrection of [Messiah]. It made sense, therefore, to alter the festival itself, to make it a Christian celebration as converts were slowly won over. The early name, Eastre, was eventually changed to its modern spelling, Easter.” (Copyright © 2003 by Jerry Wilson. Used with permission.)
“Many, perhaps most, pagan religions in the Mediterranean area had a major seasonal day of religious celebration at or following the Spring Equinox. Cybele, the Phrygian fertility goddess, had a fictional consort who was believed to have been born via a virgin birth. He was Attis, who was believed to have died and been resurrected each year during the period MAR-22 to MAR-25. ‘About 200 B.C. mystery cults began to appear in Rome just as they had earlier in Greece. Most notable was the Cybele cult centered on Vatican hill ...Associated with the Cybele cult was that of her lover, Attis (the older Tammuz, Osiris, Dionysus, or Orpheus under a new name).Hewasagodof ever-reviving vegetation. Born of a virgin, he died and was reborn annually. The festival began as a day of blood on Black Friday and culminated after three days in a day of rejoicing over the resurrection.’
“Wherever Christian worship of [Yahshua] and pagan worship of Attis were active in the same geographical area in ancient times, Christians ‘used to celebrate the death and resurrection of [Yahshua] on the same date; and pagans and Christians used to quarrel bitterly about which of their idols was the true prototype and which the imitation.’ Since the worship of Cybele was brought to Rome in 204 BCE, about 250 years before Christianity, it is obvious that if any copying occurred, it was the Christians that copied the traditions of the pagans.
“Many religious historians believe that the death and resurrection legends were first associated with Attis, many centuries before the birth of [Yahshua]. They were simply grafted onto stories of [Yahshua's] life in order to make Christian theology more acceptable to pagans. Others suggest that many of the events in [Yahshua's] life that were recorded in the gospels were lifted from the life of Krishna, the second person of the Hindu Trinity. Ancient Christians had an alternate explanation; they claimed that Satan had created counterfeit deities in advance of the coming of the Messiah in order to confuse humanity. Modern-day Christians generally regard the Attis legend as being a pagan myth of little value. They regard [Yahshua's] death and resurrection account as being true, and unrelated to the earlier tradition.” (Copyright 1999 to 2003 incl., by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.)
Easter and Pagan Celebrations
“The first thing we must understand is that professing Christians were not the only ones who celebrated a festival called ‘Easter.’ ‘Ishtar,’ which is pronounced ‘Easter,’ was a day that commemorated the resurrection of one of their gods that they called ‘Tammuz,’ who was believed to be the only begotten son of the moon-goddess and the sun-god.
“In those ancient times, there was a man named Nimrod, who was the grandson of one of Noah's sons named Ham. Ham had a son named Cush who married a woman named Semiramis. Cush and Semiramis then had a son named ‘Nimrod.’ After the death of his father, Nimrod married his own mother and became a powerful king.
“The Bible tells of this man, Nimrod, in Genesis 10:8-10, as follows: ‘And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before [Yahweh]: wherefore it is said, even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before [Yahweh]. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.’
“Nimrod became a god-man to the people and Semiramis, his wife and mother, became the powerful Queen of ancient Babylon. Nimrod was eventually killed by an enemy, and his body was cut in pieces and sent to various parts of his kingdom. Semiramis had all of the parts gathered, except for one part that could not be found. That missing part was his reproductive organ. Semiramis claimed that Nimrod could not come back to life without it and told the people of Babylon that Nimrod had ascended to the sun and was now to be called ‘Baal,’ the sun god.
“Queen Semiramis also proclaimed that Baal would be present on earth in the form of a flame, whether candle or lamp, when used in worship. Semiramis was creating a mystery religion, and with the help of Satan, she set herself up as a goddess. Semiramis claimed that she was immaculately conceived. She taught that the moon was a goddess that went through a 28 day cycle and ovulated when full. She further claimed that she came down from the moon in a giant moon egg that fell into the Euphrates River.
“This was to have happened at the time of the first full moon after the spring equinox. Semiramis became known as ‘Ishtar,’ which is pronounced ‘Easter,’ and her moon egg became known as ‘Ishtar's egg.’ Ishtar soon became pregnant and claimed that it was the rays of the sun-god Baal that caused her to conceive. The son that she brought forth was named Tammuz.
“Tammuz was noted to be especially fond of rabbits, and they became sacred in the ancient religion, because Tammuz was believed to be the son of the sun-god, Baal. Tammuz, like his supposed father, became a hunter.
“Ishtar, who was now worshipped as the ‘Mother of God and Queen of Heaven,’ continued to build her mystery religion. They ate sacred cakes with the marking of a ‘T’ or cross on the top.
“Every year, on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox, a celebration was made. It was Ishtar's Sunday and was celebrated with rabbits and eggs.
“The truth is that Easter has nothing whatsoever to do with the resurrection of [Yahshua Messiah]. The truth is that the forty days of Lent, eggs, rabbits, hot cross buns and the Easter ham have everything to do with the ancient pagan religion of Mystery Babylon. These are all antiMessiah activities!
“These customs of Easter honor Baal, who is also Satan, and is still worshipped as the ‘Rising Sun’ and his house is the ‘House of the Rising Sun.’ How many churches have ‘sunrise services’ on Ishtar's day and face the rising sun in the East? How many will use colored eggs and rabbit stories, as they did in ancient Babylon?” (Written in Last Trumpet Ministries International.)
|Ancient and Modern Spring Celebrations|
Both the solstices and equinoxes “were the highly sophisticated preoccupation of the mysterious Megalithic peoples who pre-dated Celt, Roman and Saxon on Europe’s Atlantic fringe by thousands of years.” The equinoxes were not otherwise celebrated in ancient Britain until recent years.
The spring and fall equinox were celebrated in ancient times. A cluster of megalithic cairns are scattered through the hills at Loughcrew, about 55 miles northwest of Dublin in Ireland. Lougchew Carin T is a passage tomb which is designated so that the light from the rising sun on the spring and summer equinoxes penetrates a long corridor and illuminates a backstone, which is decorated with astronomical symbols. (“Eox – Loughcrew Cair n T,quin” 2002-MAR-23 at: http://www.knowth.com/.)
Ostara, the Germanic fertility Goddess, was associated with human and crop fertility. On the springequinox, she mated with the solar god and conceived a child that would be born 9 months later on Dec-21: Yule, the winter solstice.
The indigenous Mayan people in Central America have celebrated a spring equinox festival for ten centuries. As the sun sets on the day of the equinox on the great ceremonial pyramid, El Castillo, Mexico, its “western face...is bathed in the late afternoon sunlight. The lengthening shadows appear to run from the top of the pyramid’s northern staircase to the bottom, giving the illusion of a diamond-backed snake in descent.” This has been called “The return of the Sun Serpent” since ancient times. (“Mayan spring equinox sacred sites tour and cruise: The return of the Sun Serpent,” at: http://www.soluna-tours.com/.)
The god-man Dionysos was a major deity among the ancient Greeks. “As a god of the spring rites, of the flowering plants and fruitful vines, Dionysos was said to be in terrible pain during winter, when most living things sicken and die, or hibernate.” Persephone, a daughter of Demeter, descended into the Otherworld and returned near the time of the spring equinox. This story has close parallels to various Goddess legends, stories of the life of King Arthur, and of [Yahshua Messiah].
ZOROASTRIANISM: Various ancient civilizations (Mesopotamia, Sumeria, Babylonia, Elam) circa 3000 to 2000 BCE celebrated new years at the time of the spring equinox. “No Rus,” the new day or New Year, has been celebrated in the area of modern-day Iran since the Achaemenian (Hakhamaneshi) period over 2,500 years ago. It survived because of Zoroastrianism which was the religion of Ancient
Persia before the advent of Islam 1,400 years ago. Many religious historians trace the Judeo-Christian concepts of Hell, Heaven, Resurrection, the arrival of the Messiah, and the last judgment to Zoroastrianism. In that faith, the “Lord of Wisdom created all that was good and became God. The Hostile Spirit, Angra Mainyu (Ahriman), residing in the eternal darkness created all that was bad and became the Hostile Spirit.” [“Lady Day: March 19-20 (The Vernal Equinox),” at: http://ladyhedgehog.hedgie.com/.] This dualistic God/Satan concept is surprisingly close to the views of conservative Christianity today.
In “about 200 B.C., mystery cults began to appear in Rome just as they had earlier in Greece. Most notable was the Cybele cult centered on Vatican hill...Associated with the Cybele cult was that of her lover, Attis (the older Tammuz, Osiris, Dionysus, or Orpheus under a new name)...The festival began as a day of blood on Black Friday and culminated after three days in a day of rejoicing over the resurrection.” Attis was born of a human woman, a virgin named Nana. He “grew up to become a sacrificial victim and savior, slain to bring salvation to mankind. His body was eaten by his worshipers in the form of bread...[He was] crucified on a pine tree, whence his holy blood poured down to redeem the earth.” [B. G. Walker, “The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets,” Harper & Row, San Francisco CA (1983), pages 77 to 79.] The celebration was held on Mar 25, 9 months before his birth on Dec. 25. In Rome, the rituals took place where St. Peter’s now stands in Vatican City. [Janet & Stewart Farrar, “Eight Sabbats for Witches,” Phoenix Publishing, (1981), page 14; pages 72 to 79.] The similarities between the stories of Attis and [Yahshua] are obvious.
Eostre was the Saxon version of the Germanic lunar goddess Ostara. She gave her name to the Christian Easter and to the female hormone estrogen. Her feast day was held on the full moon following the vernal equinox – almost the identical calculation as for the Christian Easter in the west. One delightful legend associated with Eostre was that she found an injured bird on the ground one winter. To save its life, she transformed it into a hare. But “the transformation was not a complete one. The bird took the appearance of a hare but retained the ability to lay eggs. ...the hare would decorate these eggs and leave them as gifts to Eostre.” [“Lady Day: March 19-20 (The Vernal Equinox), at: http://ladyhedgehog.hedgie.com/.]
Naw-Ruz is an ancient Iranian New Year’s Day festival which occurs near the Spring Equinox. It is now a world holiday of the Baha’i faith. If the equinox occurs before sunset, then New Year’s Day is celebrated on that day in the Middle East; otherwise it is delayed until the following day. In the rest of the world, it is always on Mar-21. It is celebrated with many symbols indicating regrowth and renewal – much like the Christian Easter.
The record of the Roman Army’s execution date of [Yahshua] of Nazareth (later known as Jesus Christ) has been lost. Dates linked to the Jewish Passover celebration in the years 29 to 33 CE have been suggested. Easter commemorates [Yahshua’s] execution, vist to Hell, and resurrection. Easter Sunday is a moveable holy day, being celebrated from late March to late April. It is named after the “Teutonic goddess Eostre, whose name is probably yet another variant of Istar, Astare and Aset...” [(Janet and Stewart Farrar, “Eight Sabbats for Witches,” Phoenix Publishing, (1981), page 14; pages 72 to 79.)]
“In its origin, the Passover dinner itself was a spring fertility festival – the unleavened bread coming from the agricultural past of the people and the paschal lamb from its more distant pastoral years.” (A. M. Greely, “The greatest mysteries; an essential catechism,” at: http:// www.usao.edu/.)
Started Before Christianity
Since the worship of the before mentioned Cybele, the Phrygian fertility goddess, was brought to Rome in 204 BCE, about 250 years before Christianity, it is obvious that if any copying occurred, it was the Christians that copied the traditions of the pagans.
Among the Roman Catholic church and Protestant denominations, Easter Sunday falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after March 20, the nominal date of the Spring Equinox. Its ancient linkages to sun and moon worship are obvious. Many sources incorrectly state that the starting date of the calculation is the actual day of the Equinox rather than the nominal date of March 20. Other sources use an incorrect reference date of March 21.
Easter Sunday can fall on any date from March 22 to April 25.
The year-to-year sequence is so complicated that it takes 5.7 million years to repeat. Eastern Orthodox churches sometimes celebrate Easter on the same day as the Roman Catholics and Protestants. However, if that date does not follow Passover, then the Orthodox churches delay their Easter – sometimes by over a month.
Easter and Pagan Traditions
“The Easter Bunny is not amodern invention. The symbol originated with the pagan festival of Eastre. The goddess, Eastre, was worshipped by the Anglo-Saxons through her earthly symbol, the rabbit. The Germans brought the symbol of the Easter rabbit to America. It was widely ignored by other Christians until shortly after the Civil War. In fact, Easter itself was not widely celebrated in America until after that time.
“As with the Easter Bunny and the holiday itself, the Easter Egg predates the Christian holiday of Easter. The exchange of eggs in the springtime is a custom that was centuries old when Easter was first celebrated by Christians. From the earliest times, the egg was a symbol of rebirth in most cultures. Eggs were often wrapped in gold leaf or, if you were a peasant, colored brightly by boiling them with the leaves or petals of certain flowers. Today, children hunt colored eggs and place them in Easter baskets along with the modern version of real Easter eggs - those made of plastic or chocolate candy.” (Copyright © 2003 by Jerry Wilson. Used with permission.)
“Easter Rabbit and Eggs: The symbols of the Norse Goddess Ostara were the hare and the egg. Both represented fertility. From these, we have inherited the customs and symbols of the Easter egg and Easter rabbit. Dyed eggs also formed part of the rituals of the Babylonian mystery religions. Eggs ‘were sacred to many ancient civilizations and formed an integral part of religious ceremonies in Egypt and the Orient. Dyed eggs were hung in Egyptian temples, and the egg was regarded as the emblem of regenerative life proceeding from the mouth of the great Egyptian god.’”
“Easter Lilies: ‘The so-called “Easter lily” has long been revered by pagans of various lands as a holy symbol associated with the reproductive organs. It was considered a phallic symbol!’”
“Easter Sunrise Service: This custom can be traced back to the ancient Pagan custom of welcoming the sun god at the vernal equinox - when daytime is about to exceed the length of the nighttime. It was a time to ‘celebrate the return of life and reproduction to animal and plant life as well.’ Worship of the sun god at sunrise may be the religious ritual condemned by [Yahweh] as recorded in Ezekiel 8:16=18:
“‘...behold, at the door of the temple of [Yahweh], between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of [Yahweh], and their faces toward the east; and they were worshipping the sun toward the east. Then he said unto me, Hast thou 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 turned again to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose. Therefore will I also deal in wrath; 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.’ (ASV)
“Easter Candles: These are sometimes lit in churches on the eve of Easter Sunday. Some commentators believe that these can be directly linked to the pagan customs of lighting bonfires at this time of year to welcome the rebirth/resurrection of the sun God.”(Copyright 1999 to 2003 incl., by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.)
“Easter's connection with spring and nature: Diana (the Ephesian goddess of sex, fertility, virginity and motherhood) was said to be the source of nature. Eostre (an Anglo-Saxon/Teutonic goddess) was the goddess of the sunrise and spring. Ostara (a Norse/Saxon goddess) was the maiden goddess of spring.
“Origins of Hares (Bunnies) and Eggs: According to Teutonic myth, the hare was once a bird whom Eostre changed into a four-footed creature. Thus, it can also lay eggs. The hare is also the sacred companion and sacrificial victim of Eostre. Astarte (a Phoenician/Syrian goddess), on the other hand, was believed to have been hatched from a huge egg which fell into the Euphrates.
“Origins of Good Friday: Did you ever wonder why Good Friday is recognized as the day [Yahshua] died and Sunday as the day He arose, but yet had trouble explaining how he could thus be buried for three days and three nights? (Matthew 12:40; Matthew 27:63; Mark 8:31; Mark 9:31; Mark 10:34). The answer is simple: He didn't actually die on ‘Good Friday.’ The Chaldeans offered cakes to Ishtar on the equivalent of the day we know as Good Friday. When the established church wanted to appease the paganistic people in order to ‘convert’ them to Christianity, they moved the dates accordingly.
“Origins of Hot Cross Buns and Fires: Cakes bearing a cross-like symbol representing the pair of cow-horns on the moon goddess, Isis, were offered by ancient Egyptians. The cakes which Greeks offered to Astarte and other divinities were called bous or boun, from which the word ‘bun’ is derived. The Babylonians/Chaldeans offered similar cakes to the ‘Queen of Heaven.’ Fires were lit on top of mountains and had to be kindled from new fire, drawn from wood by friction. The fire was then used to bake cakes in sacrifice to Semiramis, the ‘Queen of Heaven.’ This practice, along with burning incense, was used in conjunction with baking the cakes and is mentioned specifically in the Bible (1 Kings 11:8; 2 Kings 17:7-16; 2 Kings 18:4; 2 Kings 23:4-15; Isaiah 17:8; Isaiah 27:9; Ezekiel 8:7-12; Jeremiah 7:16-19; Jeremiah 44:19, 25). In addition to the cross imprinted on these cakes representing the horns of the goddess, it also sometimes represented the four seasons or four phases of the moon. Cakes were also offered to or eaten in honor of Apollo, Diana, Hecate, and the moon (also Diana's symbol).
“Origins of Lent: The word ‘lent’ is of Anglo-Saxon origin meaning ‘spring.’ Lent developed from the pagan celebration of weeping, fasting, and mourning for 40 days over the death of Tammuz (one day for each year of his life). Tammuz (the son/husband of the Babylonian idol Ishtar) was killed by a wild boar and then allegedly resurrected. This mourning of Tammuz is specifically prophesied by Ezekiel in the Bible and is characterized by [Yahweh] Himself as being detestable (Ezekiel 8:13-15).
“Origins of the use of the lily: Asherah (a Sidonian goddess) was frequently represented as a nude woman bestride a lion with a lily (symbolizing grace and sex appeal) in one hand and a serpent (symbolizing fecundity) in the other.
“Origins of wearing new clothing for Easter: The tradition of wearing new clothing for Easter comes from the superstition that a new garment worn at Easter means good luck throughout the year.” (Copyright © 1998-2001 Timothy A. & Kimberly B. Southall.)
“Wicca and other neo-pagan traditions: This is a group of religions which are attempted re-creations of ancient pagan religions. Of these, Wicca is the most common; it is loosely based on ancient Celtic beliefs, symbols and practices, with the addition of some more recent Masonic and ceremonial magic rituals.
“Mono-theistic religions, like Judaism, Christianity and Islam, tend to view time as linear. It started with creation; the world as we know it will end at some time in the future. Aboriginal and Neo-pagan religions see time as circular and repetitive, with lunar (monthly) and solar (yearly) cycles. Their ‘...rituals guarantee the continuity of nature's cycles, which traditional human societies depend on for their sustenance.’
“Wiccans recognize eight seasonal days of celebration. Four are minor sabbats and occur at the two solstices and the two equinoxes. The other are major sabbats which happen approximately halfway between an equinox and solstice. Wiccans may celebrate Lady Day on the evening before, or at sunrise on the morning of the equinox, or at the exact time of vernal equinox.
“Near the Mediterranean, this is a time of sprouting of the summer's crop; farther north, it is the time for seeding. Their rituals at the Spring Equinox are related primarily to the fertility of the crops and to the balance of the day and night times. Where Wiccans can safely celebrate the sabbat out of doors witout threat of religious persecution, they often incorporate a bonfire into their rituals, jumping over the dying embers to assure fertility of people and crops. It is experienced as a time of balance, of equilibrium.”
As we can easily see, traditions associated with the festival survive in the Easter rabbit, a symbol of fertility, and in colored Easter eggs, originally painted with bright colors to represent the sunlight of spring and used in Easter-egg rolling contests or given as gifts.
The Christian celebration of Easter embodies a number of traditions with emphasis on the relation of Easter to the Jewish festival of Passover, or Pesach, from which is derived Pasch, another name used by Europeans for Easter. After Passover is an important feast in the Jewish calendar, which is celebrated for 7 days and commemorates the flight and freedom of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.
Easter is observed by the churches of the West on the first Sunday following the full moon that occurs on or following the spring equinox (March 2I). So Easter became a “movable” feast, which can occur as early as March 22 or as late as April 25.
Christian churches in the East, which were closer to the birth-place of the new religion and in which old traditions were strong, observe Easter according to the date of the Passover festival.
Easter is at the end of the Lenten season, which covers a forty-six-day period that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter. The Lenten season itself comprises forty days, as the six Sundays in Lent are not actually a part of Lent. Sundays are considered a commemoration of Easter Sunday and have always been excluded from the Lenten fast. The Lenten season is a period of penitence in preparation for the highest festival of the church year, Easter Holy Week, the last week of Lent, which begins with the observance of Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday takes its name from Yahshua’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, where the crowds laid the branches from palm trees at His feet. Holy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper, which was held the evening before the Crucifixion. Friday, in the Holy Week, is the anniversary of the Crucifixion, the day that the Messiah was crucified and died on the [stake].
Christian tradition indicated that the Holy week and the Lenten season ends with Easter Sunday, the day celebrated as the resurrection of Messiah Yahshua.
One big question needs to be answered: “Does the Bible instruct us to observe Ash Wednesday, the forty-six days of Lent, Holy Week, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday?” Are these days spoken of in the Bible as days of religious worship by Yahweh’s people? Or, are these days and events borrowed from springtime pagan events that Yahweh actually condemns in the Bible? The answers should be obvious once you have read this far.
What Say You?
Now that you have read many ideas concerning the false and pagan background of celebrating Easter, are you willing to believe the Scriptures to follow the truths given to us in those Scriptures? Study the Scriptures, because what is contained in the Scriptures will set you free.
-Elder Roger G. Meyer
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