Can Christians celebrate Easter?

(Surjith Emmanuel Jireh) #1

Hi, Biblically or historically we were not able to find an exact date of Jesus death or resurrection. Across the new testament in all the letters to different churches, we didn’t find any instruction to celebrate Jesus death and resurrection on a specific day. But the Bible declares very clearly that we have to remember his death on the cross whenever we gather together.
Then why keep a special date for this even though we know that it is not true?
The word Easter is also argued among the historians in connection with Goddes and Semirani - What is the link between this

The most common answer from all the protestant church pastors are, we can use this time for more evangelism. But God told us not to do any pagan fastival in his name.

kindly clarify


Surjith Emmanuel

(SeanO) #2

@surjith.neyan My good sir, this was a very interesting question to study! I’ve linked a PDF below to a scholarly article on this topic that I found most enlightening. It appears that all of the speculation about Easter coming from pagan gods may have the facts backwards. In fact, the supposed pagan gods may have their origins in Christian converts who brought the word for Easter! Mind blown.

The Anglo-Saxons used the word ‘Eosturmonath’ for the month of April. When Christianity was spreading to England, they may have borrowed a name from the native language for Easter, which occurred in April so they chose something similar to the month name. In the 8th century Germans may have simply adopted the Old English name Eastron into their language.

To your question, what is wrong with setting aside one day a year to celebrate what Jesus did for us? Does it even really matter what day it is? Surely God would delight in our free offering of thanksgiving and praise. Remember, as Christians, we are no longer bound to celebrate only at certain days or times - these are a shadow that has passed away. Christ is the substance!

Colossians 2:16-17 - Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

That said, I believe we should avoid disobeying our conscience. Paul says as much in Romans 14 about the eating of meat sacrificed to idols and the keeping of certain days as more sacred than others (very applicable to this question). It is not wrong, but do not violate your conscience.

Romans 14:5-6 - One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.

Romans 14:22-23 - So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

In AD 601 Pope Gregory the Great advised
Augustine, his missionary in England, to
rededicate pagan temples to Christian saints
and martyrs, and to adopt a step-by-step
approach in the conversion of the English
(Bede 1930, I: 160–5). This may explain why
in England the Church borrowed the name
for Easter from the native language, rather
than using the Latin name Pascha as in the
Welsh Pasg.

The Paschal festival (Easter) has its origins in
the Jewish Passover, which was the time of
Jesus’ crucifixion. In most European languages
the festival has a name derived from Pesach,
the Hebrew name for Passover. Bede was
clear that the timing of the Paschal season
and that of the Anglo-Saxon Eosturmonath
was simply a coincidence. It is spurious to
suggest that the early Church (centered
around the eastern Mediterranean) would
have timed its most important festival to
coincide with that of a north European
pagan goddess. Furthermore, one of the
most potent Easter symbols, the egg, can be
explained as a Christian metaphor for the
resurrection of Jesus, given on Easter Sunday
when eggs could finally be eaten after the
long Lenten fast.

Did the eighth-century
German converts simply adopt the Old
English names Eastron and Eastermonað into
their native language, which then appeared
in Old High German orthography as Ostarun
and Ostarmanoth? This explanation would
seem to fit the known evidence, and does not
require any complex linguistic arguments or
the existence of a Germanic goddess Ostara.

(You may not be able to download the full article due to permissions)

If the word “Easter” has a pagan origin, should we then avoid using it? No, it does not mean we can’t use the word. In fact, many words we use in modern time have pagan origins such as “Saturday” which means “Saturn’s day,” a phrase used in ancient Roman pagan belief that the god Saturn had influence over that day.

There is an error in argumentation called the genetic fallacy. The genetic fallacy says that if the origin of something is bad, then what comes from it cannot be trusted and should be avoided. It is like saying you cannot trust the directions that were given to you by someone who was a thief. His being a thief does not mean his directions are bad. Likewise, the origin of a word in pagan history does not mean the entire celebration that the word signifies in modern times is now somehow tainted and ungodly.

Nevertheless, it is up to the individual Christian to be convinced in his own mind (Romans 14:5) about the propriety of using the term and celebrating it on any particular day.

In short, claims that Easter is a pagan holiday are based on hearsay, assumptions, and inferences, with no hard evidence to back them up. Even if Easter Sunday were a Christianized version of an ancient pagan holiday, it would not mean that Easter itself is a pagan holiday. No one today is sacrificing to a goddess named Eostre or Ostara. Regardless of what a day may once have meant, its observance today needs to be evaluated on the basis of what it means today. Christians celebrating Easter are no more pagan than are churches who gather to worship on Sunday (so named because it was the pagan “Day of the Sun”). The pagan origins of the names of the days of the week have nothing to do with the church’s weekly gatherings, and ancient pagan spring festivals have no real bearing on the modern Christian celebration of Easter.

(Dean Schmucker) #3

Interesting subject. I had always thought that Easter, because it is the first Sunday, after the first full Moon, in Spring, to be somehow tied to an ancient fertility celebration. But I agree that we don’t need to NOT celebrate the most significant day in human history. No, that is a good thing.

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(Sieglinde) #4

Very interesting. I learn so much from your post but I am convinced you are a robot! *:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
I have often wanted to make you check the "I am not a robot " captcha :robot:.
Good stuff. Your are full of knowledge!

(SeanO) #5

@sig Haha - @Jimmy_Sellers once joked that I was a computer in RZIM’s server rooms :grinning: But really I just make good use of existing resources and really enjoy helping others know Jesus more :slight_smile:

(Rachel O'Dell) #6

A couple of weeks before Easter this year, two Jehovah Witnesses to invited me to their service commemorating Jesus’ death. They said that this was what Jesus had said to do–remember his death. They do not celebrate the resurrection.

If we choose not to celebrate Jesus’s resurrection, it seems the same would apply to his birth.

For me, all three are important: Jesus’s birth, his death and his resurrection.

Thank you, Sean, for your explanation.

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(SeanO) #7

@rachelodell Amen! Yes, we see Paul say that Christ’s death and resurrection are both of first importance and we celebrate His birth, life, death, resurrection and the reality that we will see Him face to face on day soon!

1 Cor 15:3-8 - For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

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(Surjith Emmanuel Jireh) #8

Waugh @SeanO that was beautifully explained. Further, I wanted to reiterate that. we are not trying to question those who celebrate. or coming to a conclusion that one is right and other is wrong. At the same time, it’s always interesting to go deeper with our word of God and understand the truth based on the word.

Your remarks on Colossians & Romans, we know clearly that it was connected to Jewish festival and no other pagan festival involved in that… There are Christians in India adopted Hindhu culture to the church and doing every festival in the same way how Hindus are celebrating their God and goddess.

In the links you share. it was clarifying that it had a pagan origin and a name, but the author himself agrees that it doesn’t matter if we use the name.

But in Ezekiel 20: 39, “As for you, O house of Israel,” thus says the Lord God: “Go, serve every one of you his idols—and hereafter—if you will not obey Me; but profane My holy name no more with your gifts and your idols.

Which clearly say that doesn’t put his name in the pagan festival

Easter’, as We Know it, Comes From the Ancient Pagan, (Heathen), Festival of ‘Astarte’. Also Known as ‘Ashtaroth’, ‘Ashtoreth’, ‘Asherah’, ‘Istar’, ‘Ishtar’, ‘Easter’, ‘Aphrodite’, and ‘Astarte’ (ALL Pronounced, ‘Easter’). This Festival Has Always Been Held Late in the Month of April. It Was, in its Original Form, a Celebration of the Earth, “Regenerating”, Itself after the Winter Season. The Festival Involved a Celebration of Reproduction.

For this Reason the Common Symbols of ‘Easter’ Festivities Were the Rabbit, (The Same Symbol as, “Playboy” Magazine), and the Egg. Both Are Known For Their Reproductive Abilities, (The God of Fertility). At the Center of Attention Was ‘Astarte’, (Also Known as ‘Ashtaroth’), the Female Deity. She is Known in the Scriptures as The, ‘Queen of Heaven’

And we also need to know that Nimrod and his wife Semiramis is the beginning of all pagan festival and idol worship in the world. They are called different names in deferent nations

  • In Rome They Were ‘Venus’ and ‘Cupid’

  • In Babylon They Were ‘Semiramis’ and ‘Tammuz’.

  • In Phoenicia They Were ‘Ashteroth’ and ‘Baal’.

  • In Greece They Were ‘Aphrodite’, (‘Artemis’) and ‘Eros’, (‘Adonis’).

  • In Iceland They Were ‘Frigga’ and ‘Balder’.

  • Even in the Far East, ‘Cupid’ Was Known as ‘Zoroaster’
    (zoro, Seed of ‘Aster’ or ‘Ashteroth’).

  • In Asia They Were ‘Cybele’ and ‘Deoius’

  • In India They Were ‘Isi’ and ‘Iswara’ and ‘Kali’ and ‘Shiva’

Ezekiel 8:14-16 .

14 Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the Lord’s house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.

15 Then said he unto me, hast thou seen this, O son of man? Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these.

16 And he brought me into the inner court of the Lord’s house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.

A woman weeping for Tammuz is Semiramis and she fasted for 40 days and on the first day of the week Tammuz (Nimrod) came back to her through the ray of the sun for that they worship Sun from the temple of God

Are we not doing the same thing on Easter calling early morning Service and how come 40 days fast came before Easter is not connecting with Pegan fastwal.

Many time Semiramis mentioned as Queen of Heaven in the bible (Jer 7:8, Je 44:9…Etc) . Even in 2Kings 23:10, we can read that King of Judah had dedicated his horses to the Sun.

in Hosea 2: 11 And I will put an end to all her mirth, her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbaths,

and all her appointed feasts.

So how we know that the festival of Moon, Sabbath is for the Lord or for the queen of Heaven.

Deuteronomy 12 : 30 After they have been destroyed from your presence, be careful not to be ensnared like they are; do not pursue their gods and say, “How do these nations serve their gods? I will do the same.” .

While we are adding egg to Easter, and keeping the name as Easter are we not copying the pagan way of worship the idol .

Jesus commanded us to remember his death and resurrection every day when we meet, I think we need to start to follow that

What’s your views on this?


Surjith Emmanuel Jireh

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(SeanO) #9

@surjith.neyan The article I linked actually suggests that Easter is not necessarily a pagan holiday. It may simply be how Christian missionaries chose to name the Passover when they brought Christ to Anglo-Saxon culture. It also suggest that eggs were used as a way to celebrate after Lent and symbolized the resurrection. So Easter may not have pagan origins after all - even the egg. It is uncertain.