By: Russell K. Tardo
I am a blood-washed, Christ-bought, born again Christian believer, that refuses to celebrate Easter! WHY? Because my eyes were opened 12 years ago to the true origin, nature and significance of the Easter customs. Since then, I cannot, with dear conscience, celebrate what I have discovered to be
A Whitewashed Pagan Celebration.
The Easter celebration has been referred to as “the oldest and most important Christian festival.” To be sure, Easter has ancient roots, but it may come as quite a surprise to discover just how old it actually is. Most believers today consider it a purely “Christian” holiday commemorating Christ’s resurrection, and thus dating back only as far as that time. The fact is, however, that “Easter” was celebrated by ancient pagans by its very same name, at the same time of the year, and in the very same fashion it is celebrated today, long before Christ died, rose, or became incarnate! Easter actually pre-dates Christianity, and was a widely observed pagan celebration of fertility and the sun’s re-birth. After the long cold winter season, the superstitious pagans ushered in the beginning of spring by observing the same identical customs the church observes today in its Easter traditions. I quit celebrating “Easter” once I learned the truth about it. Just as our Lord said it would, the truth delivered me from the bondage of Romish-pagan Easter tradition.
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)
My sincere prayer is that once you are made aware of the source and significance of the Easter celebration, as the facts are presented in this booklet, that you too will question whether you can participate in it with a dear conscience any longer.
Following is a list of the most pronounced of the Easter errors, and are the reasons why I do not celebrate it:
1. The Easter celebration is thoroughly idolatrous in origin!
Contrary to what most of us have been led to believe, Easter is not a uniquely “Christian” celebration. In fact, its origin is not Christian at all, as even a superficial investigation by any sincere inquirer will reveal. The popular Easter customs such as colored eggs, Easter rabbits, sunrise services, new clothes, etc. do not spring from any Christian tradition, but are in fact customs that descended directly from pagan spring rites and ceremonies! The idolatrous pagans of the ancient past have celebrated spring holidays since the beginning of recorded history. These celebrations marked the end of winter, and the beginning of the spring season, when everything seemed to come to life again.
The seasons change because of the earth’s tilt as it rotates on its axis, and spring begins when the earth is tilted so that the sun is directly over the equator. The first day of spring in the northern parts of the world is on or about March 21. This is the day of the vernal equinox; vernal meaning “spring,” and equinox meaning “equal night.” So on the first day of spring night and day are the same length-12 hours each. The period of longer winter nights was over, and the sun was reappearing as the dominant force of nature. For the ancient superstitious idolaters, this was a time of great celebration! “In their joy they held spring festivals for their gods. Gathering around blazing bonfires, they chanted, danced, leapt through the
flames, and made sacrifices. Sometimes there were cruel burnings as they celebrated the triumph of spring over winter.” The New Catholic Encyclopedia confesses that “most Easter traditions originate from ancient
rites connected with the spring and fertility,” and it further goes on to refer to our common Easter customs as “relics of the pagan past.” These pagan spring rites were wicked almost beyond belief. The people indulged in the grossest forms of immorality imaginable, hoping to insure fertility for their flocks and fields. Animal, as well as child and other human sacrifices were offered to placate the gods and obtain favor. Great fires were lit to honor the sun, in those lands where sun worship reigned supreme. These are the very sort of pagan rites that God so expressly condemns throughout the pages of the Bible.
“When the Lord your God cuts off before you the nations whom you go to dispossess, and you dispossess them and live in their land, be watchful that you are not ensnared into following them after they have been
destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I will do likewise.’ You shall not do so to the Lord your God; for every abominable thing which the Lord hates they have done for their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burned in the fire to their gods.” (Deuteronomy 12:29-31, Amplified Bible)
Are you a Christian? Then why would you celebrate a day that ancient pagans set aside to worship in licentious fashion their gods of spring and fertility? God says,
“…Learn not the way of the heathen…for the customs of the people are vain.. (Jeremiah 10:2-3)
2. The very word “Easter” is actually the proper name of a pagan god! Easter is not even a Christian word! It is the proper name of the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring as any research on your part will readily show.
Though the word “Easter does once appear in the King James Version of the Bible (Acts 12:4), that one appearance is an unfortunate mistranslation of the Greek “pascha,” which is translated correctly as “passover” in the 28 other places where it occurs in the New Testament. Easter is a non-Biblical, non-Christian name and celebration, as the following references will attest. Please note well what these sources reveal to be the real origin of the name:
“Easter…derives its name from Eostra, a teutonic goddess of spring.”
“Easter…was derived from the name of Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring Eostre”
The word ‘Easter’ is derived from the old Saxon name for the goddess of spring ‘Eostre.’ Her festival was celebrated at the time of the vernal equinox.”
Another reference work states: “Easter is nothing else than Astarte, one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven, whose name, as pronounced by the people of Nineveh, was evidently identical with that now in common use in this country. That name, as found by Layard on the Assyrian monuments, is Ishtar.” Yet another author notes: “The word Easter is not a Christian expression. the word…comes from the name of a pagan goddess-the goddess of spring. Easter is but a more modern form of Ishtar, Eostre, Ostera, or Astarte. Ishtar, another name for Semiramis of Babylon, was pronounced as we pronounce ‘Easter’ today. And so the name of the spring festival ‘Easter’ is definitely paganistic, the name being taken from the name of the goddess.”
Though we could give many other references as further proof of the origin of the word “Easter,” these should be sufficient enough to persuade anyone of reasonable mind. Easter is the name of a pagan deity that is celebrated on the same day the goddess was honored and with the same customs observed by ancient pagans! Do you think God is pleased when the “children of light” observe a day of darkness, named for and honoring a heathen spring fertility goddess? God says,
“…make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.” (Exodus 23:13)
3. The popular Easter customs are occult in nature.
Have you ever wondered how such things as colored eggs and Easter bunnies ever became associated with the Easter ceremony? Isn’t Easter a celebration of Christ’s resurrection? What do these things have to do with Christ, Christianity, or His resurrection? The fact is, they have absolutely nothing to do with Christ, and are actually the very same customs and superstitions that were associated with the ancient idolatrous spring festival held in honor of Ishtar, Astarte, Eostre, etc. For instance:
The Easter Egg.
Eggs are among the most common of Easter symbols. Each year at this time, millions of them are dyed, decorated, hidden, hunted, rolled and eaten all over the world by Christians who have no idea how or why eggs ever became associated with Easter. Did Jesus or His apostles ever do these things? Is it a Bible custom? Is it a “Christian” tradition? No, in fact, it was a pagan tradition that was adopted by an apostate church!
The egg was a sacred symbol among the Babylonians! They believed an old fable about an egg of wondrous size which was supposed to have fallen from heaven into the Euphrates River. From this marvelous egg according to the ancient story-the goddess Astarte (Easter), was hatched. And so the egg came to symbolize the goddess Easter. Many other of the ancient pagan cultures have their own superstitions about the egg. The Druids bore an egg as the sacred emblem of their idolatrous order. The procession of Ceres in Rome was preceded by an egg. In the mysteries of Bacchus, an egg was consecrated as part of their ceremony, and in Northern Europe in pagan times, eggs were colored and used as symbols of the goddess Easter. The
ancient Egyptians, in one of their creation myths, believed the universe was created from an enormous egg. They even hung eggs in their temples! Throughout the world, the egg became a symbol of fertility. In Rome, pregnant women wore eggs around their necks to ward off evil. Eggs were planted along with seeds to insure a healthy and plentiful harvest. As far back as 722 B.C., the Chinese were decorating eggs for their spring festival. The Encyclopedia Britannica says: “The customs and symbols associated with the observance of Easter have ancient origins, not only in the Teutonic rites of spring but also far back in antiquity. The conception of the egg as a symbol of fertility and of renewed life goes back to the ancient Egyptians and Persians, who had also the custom of coloring and eating eggs during their spring festival.” The egg is involved in mythology with the origin of the earth, a symbol of creation, in ancient Egypt and
India. Hindus and the earlier Phoenicians believed that a great egg split apart to form heaven and earth. The Egyptian myth has the World-Egg coming from the god of the sky and the god of the earth. This egg produces the sun-bird who becomes supreme over both earth and sky. Egg rolling at Easter is another ancient tradition still popular in several countries. The first egg rolling contests were probably part of the athletic competitions that took place during pagan spring festivals.”
No one could dispute the fact that the egg has long been a sacred symbol in pagan cultures, and was a primary part of their idolatrous spring (Easter) festivals. The question is, how did this custom come to be associated with Christianity? Britannica says, “Christianity, when it reached the Teutons, incorporated in its celebration of the great Christian feast day many of the heathen rites and customs which accompanied their observance of the spring festival.” When the Roman Emperor Constantine proclaimed Christianity the official religion of the empire, these old pagan traditions were so thoroughly ingrained in the hearts of the people, they refused to die! When the Roman Catholic Church failed to stomp out these blatantly idolatrous rites among the people they had supposedly “Christianized,” they simply adopted the pagan customs, and incorporated them into the church’s liturgy. Attempts were made to attach clever new
“sanctified” meanings to the ancient idolatrous superstitions, and backslidden church leaders began associating the egg with the resurrection. They mingled the abominable practices of idolatrous spring festival worship with the purity and truth of Christianity! Does God look with favor upon such a mixture? NO! In fact, the Bible says He hates it! The psalmist declared that for this very cause the wrath of God fell upon Israel:
“They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the Lord commanded them: but were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them. Therefore was the wrath of the Lord kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance.” (Psalm 106:34-36,40)
Instead of rejecting the false religious ways of the heathen, Israel adopted them and “mingled” God’s truth with the lies of heathen idolatry (exactly what Christians are doing today with the Easter celebration) and
God judged them for it! The New Testament as well, reveals the Lord’s great displeasure when His truth is adulterated in such a fashion. Paul wrote:
“…for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And, what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?….” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16)
God’s design was for the Christian faith to be preserved on the earth in all of its purity! The church was not to be polluted by the idolatrous practices of the heathen nations. The only way this could be done was to
keep all of its beliefs and practices scriptural! And, dear reader, there is nothing scriptural about hiding, hunting, dying or decorating eggs at Easter. In fact, there is nothing scriptural about Easter at all!
The Easter Rabbit.
How did this creature come to be associated with Easter? What has it to do with Christ’s resurrection? And why do Christian parents tell their children stories of a mysterious Easter Bunny that delivers colored eggs in the dark of night? The hare (or rabbit) has long been a heathen symbol of fertility since they multiply so rapidly. Other pagan cultures associated the hare with the moon, giving it some special reverence during the spring equinox. Again, Britannica notes, “Like the Easter egg, the Easter hare, now an accepted part of the Easter story, came to Christianity from antiquity. The hare is associated with the moon in the legends of ancient Egypt and other peoples. It belongs to the night, since it comes out only then to feed. It is born with its eyes open and, like the moon, is the ‘open-eyed watcher of the skies.’
The hare was the animal of ancient times closely associated with Eostre, and was a symbol of sexual significance; a symbol of fertility. These ancient spring customs are still observed today, precisely as they were in pre-Christian times! Unfortunately, now they are practiced right in the church by people who think they are glorifying God! Easter plays, Easter drama, Easter egg hunts, etc. is the common fare served to churchgoers at this time of year. Rare indeed is the church that has not incorporated these pagan elements into its worship. May God help us all to see His great displeasure in this amalgamation of Christianity with idolatry.
There are several strange customs associated with fire in Easter celebrations that have also descended from far in the pagan past. Fire ceremonies of many sorts were used at the pagan spring festivals. The tradition that new fires should be started on Easter, lighted by the friction of wood or flint and steel, goes back to old Teutonic superstition. The Celts, who lived mostly in Great Britain in ancient times, had a May Day celebration for their sun god. They believed that this god was held prisoner all winter by the evil spirits of cold and darkness. Each year, around the first of May, the god escaped and brought sunlight and warmth back to the earth. To help the sun escape, the Celts lit giant bonfires on the highest hills in their villages. This was to frighten away the evil spirits and force them to free the sun. To this day, traditions such as lighting special fires and burning candles continue to be part of spring celebrations in many lands.” The modern custom of burning special Easter candles descends directly from those pagan rites. The American
Peoples Encyclopedia says, “Many of the popular observances of Easter are pagan in origin. Some may be traced to the feast of the goddess Eostra. The church endeavored to give Christian significance to such of the pagan rites as could not be rooted out. Joy at the rising of the sun and the spring awakening of nature became joy at the rising of the Sun of Righteousness, or the resurrection of Christ from the grave. The great bonfires that formed part of the pagan festivals had their counterpart in the paschal tapers (Easter candles sometimes weighing 300 pounds) that lighted the churches on Easter Eve. The Easter egg and Easter rabbit are also pagan in origin.”
Since the spring festival was a celebration of sun worship, it stands to reason that fires of every sort, whether bonfires or candles, would play an integral part. Of course, the Christian church frowned on the gods of the pagans, and spring fire rites to honor the sun gods were forbidden until the year 752 A.D. By that time, the Roman Church was no longer resisting the encroachment of pagan elements into its worship, and the pagan fires, eggs, and hares were given a new, supposedly, “Christian” significance. Still today, many churches hold elaborate rites and ceremonies involving the use of fire (candles, tapers, etc.), re-enacting the very pagan rituals of ancient sun worship!
New Easter Clothes.
For many, Easter is nothing more than the time to put on new finery, attend church, see what others are wearing and be seen. Tradition dictates that new clothes be worn at Easter, but what tradition? And from whence did this tradition spring?
“According to the belief held in many places, it was unlucky not to wear some new article of clothing or personal adornment on Easter; the modern custom, seemingly entirely worldly, of appearing in a new costume on Easter Sunday may go back to this belief, or perhaps may spring from the universal feeling that the Eastertime is the time of casting off the old and the beginning of the new.” Since the earth seemed to put on “new garments” in the spring it was considered lucky to wear something new at spring festivals. So pagan superstition is again seen to be the source of our present Easter customs.
The Easter Lily.
Yet another of many Easter customs whose origins can be traced to far in the dark past is the Easter lily. Having become symbolic of the season, churches worldwide decorate their altars with these beautiful flowers, and innumerable thousands of them are given away to women at Easter as gifts. Few however, realize the ancient significance of such gifts! 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! One might easily surmise what was being suggested by sending a gift of such nature in ancient times.
Virtually every aspect of our present Easter customs, had their source in the shameful, immoral fertility rites of the pagan past. That’s why I do not celebrate Easter.
4. Even Easter’s most cherished religious rites were borrowed from paganism! For instance:
The forty day season preceding Easter is called “Lent”. It was established by the Roman Catholic Church as a time of penitence and fasting before the Easter celebration. Though first adopted by Roman Catholicism, abstinence and fasts are now required during the Lenten season by many churches. While fasting itself is entirely scriptural, the forced forty day Lenten season of fasting is not scriptural at all, and was unknown to the early church. “Early in the history of the church there was no required forty day Lenten preparation. It wasn’t until the 6th century that the Roman Church imposed this time of fasting and abstinence upon its members. And it is not surprising that we find a similar forty day period of self-immolation at the onset of spring a common practice among many pagan cultures. The ancient Egyptians held a forty day Lenten fast in commemoration of Osiris, son of Isis.”
Hislop maintains that, “The forty days abstinence of Lent was directly borrowed from the worshippers of the Babylonian goddess. Such a Lent of forty days, ‘in the spring of the year is still observed by the Yezidis or pagan devil-worshippers of Koordistan, who have inherited it from theirearly masters, the Babylonians.” He further states that, “Among the pagans this Lent seems to have been an indispensable preliminary to the great annual festival in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Tammuz. To conciliate the pagans to nominal Christianity, Rome, pursuing its usual policy, took measures to get the Christian and pagan festivals amalgamated, and by a complicated but skillful adjustment of the calendar, it was found
no difficult matter, in general, to get paganism and Christianity-now far sunk in idolatry – in this as in so many other things, to shake hands.”
Another remarks, “About the year 525, Rome, pursuing her usual policy of absorbing the pagan observances and in order to gain nominal adherents to the church, engineered a new religious merger. Under the shrewd management of the Abbot Dionysus the Little, the pagan Lent was established as a
church observance. And so, the church, now controlled from Rome, and fast sinking into every form of corruption, added yet this evil of a ‘sacred fast’ to her list of idolatries.”
An early Christian of Marseilles, writing in the 5th century, said: “It ought to be known that the observance of the forty days fast had no existence so long as the primitive church remained pure.” How tragic then
for the churches who profess to follow the Bible, to follow Rome instead in the adoption of such flagrantly idolatrous observances. And this form of Lenten fast is a mockery in itself! From what do its proponents fast? One abstains from candy bars, another “cuts back” to smoking only one pack a day instead of two, another ‘slacks off’ his alcohol consumption, etc. Entirely deluded by these acetic Catholic/pagan denials of the flesh, they actually believe to be pleasing God!
“They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness…” (Psalm 82:5)
“…It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways.” (Psalm 95:10)
“…it is a people of no understanding: therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will shew them no favor.” (Isaiah 27:11)
Dear Christian, why should you participate in such a mockery of God as Lent? I refuse to observe this or any other ritual Rome has stolen from Babylon!
The Easter Sunrise Service.
Millions of people all over the world will get up early in order to attend a “sunrise service” on Easter morning without realizing that they are participating in a modern re-enactment of an ancient sun worship ritual! Although most Christians assume that these sunrise ceremonies honor Christ’s resurrection, few realize how central such observances were to ancient heathen celebrating their spring festivals. What would sun worship be without a sunrise service? Britannica notes, ‘Various other (pagan) customs and traditions are associated with Easter, many of them surviving into the 20th century. According to old superstition, the sun rising on Easter morning dances in the heavens; this belief has been traced to the
old heathen festival of spring when the spectators danced in honor of the sun.” Now we are not implying that Christian people today are literally “worshipping the sun” in the Easter sunrise services, but we do contend that such practices are undeniable mixtures of paganism with Christianity! The early church did not hold sunrise services at Easter; in fact, the early church did not celebrate Easter at all! They knew it was a thoroughly pagan celebration, and refused to have anything to do with it! To them, Easter Sunday was observed no differently from any other Sunday. As we have noted before, the whole concept of Easter, the entire celebration with all of its attending customs (including the sunrise service) were borrowed from
pagan spring sun worship ceremonies.
5. The Easter celebration is an unscriptural addition to the church and the Bible.
I believe that the pages of the Bible contain all we need to know in order to worship God acceptably. There, we are told what to practice and what to believe in order to please God, and we are expressly warned not to add anything more to the divine counsel. God cautions:
“What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” (Deuteronomy 12:32)
God says we’re to observe only what He commands us to observe, and by no means are we to take it upon ourselves to add anything at all to His commands. But in total disregard of the clear teaching of Scripture, the Easter celebration was added to the churches ceremonial observances by theRoman Catholic Church, in order to appease the millions of pagans baptized into Catholicism.
Dear Christian, God did not tell us to celebrate Easter! And, nowhere in the Bible are we told to set a particular day out of the year aside to celebrate Christ’s resurrection! The early church did not celebrate Easter; the apostles did not celebrate it; and, for the first few centuries of church history, no Christians anywhere celebrated it! In the entire New Testament, which covers a period of some 90 years, there is not even a hint of a reference to a day set aside to commemorate Christ’s resurrection. The whole pagan thing was added-in spite of the Biblical prohibitions against doing so – to the ceremony of the church. One reference work has well noted, “the concept of Easter is post-biblical: there is no celebration of the resurrection in the New Testament.”
In spite of its evil origins, Roman Catholicism has made Easter a “holy day of obligation” for their adherents. If a Roman Catholic were to fail to perform certain religious duties according to prescribed church laws during the Easter season (such as failure to receive Communion), it was considered a “mortal sin” (a sin worthy of eternal damnation). Thus, multitudes of nominal Catholics attend church at Easter (and Christmas) who do not attend at any other time of the year, and by so doing, delude themselves into
believing they have fulfilled their obligations to God and church for the year! They leave the Christmas or Easter services in the very same rural and spiritual condition in which they came, yet with a smug sense of self-satisfaction because “they’d been to Mass” and performed their Christian duty, and were therefore, “good Christians” in the sight of God and the church. What a mockery of true Christian faith! Such behavior constitutes what has to be the grandest form of delusion possible! This kind of irresponsible religion shall be held liable for the deception of millions of souls by a Holy God who demands not only worship, but truth in worship!
“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24)
The truth is vital in order for our worship to be acceptable! But there’s not a grain of truth in the whole Easter celebration! The whole thing is a carry-over from idolatry!
Did you know that initially, Easter was not celebrated in America? Among the Christian groups that closely followed the Bible, Easter was not observed. Britannica says, ‘The Puritans, who abhorred the Catholic ritual and the excesses which often accompanied the observance of the church festivals, refused to celebrate Easter.” It goes on to further state, “At first in the U.S., with the exception of a few states such as Louisiana and Virginia, where the Puritan element was not dominant, Easter was not observed. It was not until the latter part of the l9th century, particularly during the Civil War, that the Protestant churches…began to mark this day by special services.
“Tragically, most churches today are either ignorant of Easter’s origins, or they simply refuse to take what is sure to be an unpopular stand against the inroads of this transformed pagan holiday. But stand against it we must! For certainly it dishonors Christ to mingle His Holy Name with the names of the pagan fertility goddesses of antiquity. He says,
“…pollute ye my holy name no more…”(Ezekiel 20:39)
“But Easter doesn’t mean what it used to mean anymore. All of the formerly pagan elements have been given new meanings and significance by the church, and it no longer symbolizes idolatry. Now it’s good to observe Easter, because it celebrates our Lord’s resurrection, and certainly nothing could be wrong with that!” Something like this goes the argument by compromising Christians in favor of holding on to their deeply loved (though pagan and unscriptural) holidays. But plenty is wrong with Easter, no matter how hard some try to justify its presence in the church. The Bible says,
“Woe unto them that a call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)
Let us not be guilty of calling something “good” or “Christian” (like Easter), when it so obviously never was either! Nothing has changed about Easter. It’s the same holiday it always was, signifying the same things it
always has, and celebrated in the very same fashion in which the pagans observed it for millenniums. The prophet Jeremiah asks,
“Can the…leopard change its spots?..” (Jeremiah 13:23)
Can it stop being a leopard and suddenly become a lamb? Can Easter stop being an evil pagan fertility rite, and start being something good? NEVER! Jesus said:
“A corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit…a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” (Matthew 7:17-18)
Obviously, the corrupt root of pagan fertility rites, cannot possibly bear the fruits of righteousness in our lives! Perhaps we should ask ourselves what Paul and Barnabas asked the superstitious idolaters at Lystra,
“Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God….” (Acts 14:15)
When, o’ when will God’s children heed His unceasing call:
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, said the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18)
(The above material was published by Faithful Word Publications, Arabi, LA.)
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