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Easter: pagan or sacred

The controversy over the name Easter, when used in association with the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus, is interesting…

According to various sources, the name Easter has its origin in pagan worship. And the date aligned to pagan celebrations. Rather than the name being a biblical translation and the date aligned to the Jewish celebration of Passover and the lunar cycle.

For the better part of two thousand years, Christ followers have met and celebrated the Risen King on the Sunday following the full moon (or northern-hemisphere’s vernal equinox).

The early church simply referred to the time as Passover, from the early Bible translations Wycliffe used the transliteration ‘pask’ (in Latin Vulgate). Luther & Tyndale were the first to use a translation (in German & English) using Oster & Ester. To suggest Luther & Tyndale thought of their Saviour in terms of the sacrificial offering of a pagan goddess is quite absurd in light of their writings and translations of the Scriptures.

The King James Version uses the modern word Easter. So our word Easter is of Saxon origin, and of precisely the same import with its German equal Ostern. Which is derived from the old Teutonic form of Auferstehn, Auferstehung meaning Resurrection.

Going down the rabbit hole.

OK… but what about egg-laying bunnies..?

The hare and eggs have been symbols for fertility cults and pagan rituals around the world. The colouring of eggs is common to many of these rituals. Many Christians across the globe have incorporated the use of eggs into their celebrations. While eggs have been symbols of the rebirth of the earth each spring in paganism, Christians have viewed the egg as a symbol of resurrection. From the apparently dead egg springs forth new life in the form of a chick.

This raises an interesting question: If an object or action is used in pagan worship, can it ever be used to worship God? God is the Creator of everything, so any object from nature the pagans may use in their worship is actually a corruption of what God has created. Christians might use an egg to communicate the idea of Christ’s Resurrection without worshipping the egg, expecting increased fertility, or associating it with a pagan god.

As you consider how best to acknowledge the Resurrection, take time to check your practices help you bring honour and glory to Christ. Make sure Christ is the focus of your worship not only during the celebration of the Resurrection, but every day of your life.


So hands off our ‘Easter’… it is not a pagan event in name or timing, it is literally a celebration of Jesus Resurrection Day.

It might well be more fitting or clearer to simply refer to the day on which we celebrate the risen Lord as Resurrection Sunday.

May our gifts of chocolate be free from corrupt ideas and motives and simply be symbols of the new life we each can find in Christ as a result of the Resurrection. May the giving and receiving reflect the joy we can all share on Easter Sunday. But most importantly on Easter Sunday we celebrate Jesus’ victory over death, the fulfilment of God’s plan, and the promise of eternity for all who believe.

So, Happy Easter :)

The above commentary is a synopsis from three articles available for further reading here…