Originally Published March 29, 2013
Ah, Easter. Colored eggs, baskets of candy, fuzzy bunnies, the Messiah resurrecting from the dead… Wait. WHAT?
Most of us in Western culture have memories of egg hunts, easter baskets, and the Easter Bunny. Even among Christians, churches commonly hold community egg hunts with little munchkins dressed in adorable bunny costumes. But more and more Christians seem to be asking questions like, “What do eggs and rabbits have to do with the Resurrection of Christ?” Since my Christian friends often come to me with questions like these, I thought I’d post a short article about Easter. (Mouseover the images for a description)
The answer to what eggs and rabbits have to do with the Resurrection is this – none. ‘Easter Sunday’ is a complex holiday that began as a Christian holiday celebrating the day that Christ rose from the grave after being crucified, the day that symbolizes the essence of Christianity. It occurs in relation to the Jewish Passover celebration (Pesach) because Jesus had returned to Jerusalem for that very celebration when he was arrested, tried, and executed. The Passover celebration dates back to the earliest books of the Bible (Torah), and was established by God for Israel as a commemoration of their deliverance from slavery in Egypt, believed to be approximately 3300 years ago. Many Christians already know all of this.
So where do eggs and rabbits come in? And where did the name Easter come from? These are most definitely Pagan. The name ‘Easter’ is a modern derivative of the holiday, or branch of the Pagan Wheel, corresponding to the Spring Equinox. The true name is Ostara (Eostre), and is named after a Pagan (Germanic) goddess of spring and fertility. That’s where the eggs and rabbits come in, too. Both eggs and rabbits are considered magically ‘fertile’ entities that have become symbols of Pagan fertility and reproduction. Egg hunting was a pre-holiday practice of collecting these ‘magical eggs’ for use in Ostara rituals and fertility rites.
It’s difficult to say why Pagan practices were incorporated into the Christian holiday of Resurrection Sunday. It’s likely that it happened during the early Roman Church because the Roman Church was used during the expansion of the Roman Empire to help assimilate barbarian cultures (Celtic, Germanic, and Slavic, mostly) and make Imperial expansion more efficient. As part of that process, many Christian celebrations and holidays were ‘adapted’ to the Pagan celebrations that the barbarians were already accustomed to practicing. In doing so, many Christian holidays were ‘Paganized’ to the versions we know today.
My purpose in posting this article is simply informative rather than an effort to tell Christians how they should or should not celebrate Resurrection Sunday. My responsibility is to share the truth and let people decide for themselves. As a Christian with a Pagan and Occult background, I personally refuse to associate the Holy Resurrection with a Pagan celebration and worship of ‘breeding’ by group sex orgies. But that’s a choice each Christian must make for himself.