Follow by Email

Monday, March 28, 2016

Is Easter Christian?

Every Easter holiday, Christians are pummeled by articles claiming that Easter is a pagan holiday originating with the Assyrian goddess Ishtar or the Babylonian equivalent Astarte and that eggs and the bunny were a sign of fertility.  But is this true?

In a word, nope.  Not at all.  Here’s the deal.  The Hebrew word for Passover is pesach. Most English bibles translates pesach (or the Greek word pascha) as Passover and a couple translate it into Easter.  But it’s the same word.  Easter is an Anglo-Saxon word meaning Passover or Easter. Anglo-Saxon language itself is a Germanic language and Germans used the word Oster for Passover and Easter and is related to the words for resurrection. So, yes, Easter is a term speaking on the resurrection of Jesus.  But what about the Easter Bunny?  

You can thank the German Lutherans for that tradition.  The Easter Bunny is no different than Santa Claus with the exception of the time of the year he shows up. The Easter Bunny was to judge whether the children were obedient or not at the start of the season of Eastertide.  That tradition landed on the shores of this great continent in the 1700’s with the German immigrants into Pennsylvania which went nationwide rather quickly. But aren’t the eggs a symbol of fertility?

Nope.  It was a rather pragmatic solution to Lent.  Orthodox churches abstained from eggs during the fast of Lent and the only way to keep the eggs from going bad was to boil them and eat them at the end of the fast. But what about decorating the eggs?

Well, that was just for fun for some churches to celebrate the dawn of spring. However, the Eastern Orthodox churches tend to dye their eggs red to represent the blood of Christ.

So there you go.  Easter, the Easter Bunny, and the Easter eggs are all Christian in origin. Celebrate. And since the Clouse name is German in origin, I’m taking full credit for how awesome the German christians are for this tradition.