The Gilead Institute of America

What About Celebrating Easter?

Even the practice of celebrating Easter, as it is done today, consists of many similarities to certain ancient pagan customs. While many make reference to the word "Easter," as found in Acts 12:4, it is important to note that this text is not speaking of the time of the resurrection of Christ as some seek to interpret it. The word "Easter" in this text is specifically referring to the time of the Jewish Passover. This can be easily observed when viewed in its proper context. The previous verse states, "Then were the days of unleavened bread" (Acts 12:3). Careful biblical research will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is speaking about the time of the Passover. (See: Lev. 23:5-6; Ex. 12:11, 17-18; 23:15; 34:18.)

 Christ never told His disciples to observe His death or resurrection on any particular day. Instead, the holy Scriptures makes reference to how Christians are to observe the death and resurrection of Christ; and that is by showing everyone's need to go into the watery grave of baptism and resurrect into a new life, a sinless life, through the grace and power of Christ. (Read: Rom. 6:3-4; Col. 2:10-12.)

 Furthermore, modern-day Easter falls right after the observance of the forty days of Lent. In ancient Babylon when Tammuz died, the followers of Semiramis joined her in mourning over the death of her son, Tammuz, for forty days. Thus the practice of mourning for the loss of this so-called "son of god" was adopted by many for centuries thereafter. This act was later "Christianized" under the name of Lent. But long before Christianity came into existence, even the children of Israel became victims of this pagan practice of mourning for Tammuz. Hence we read:

 "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." Ezek. 8:14.

 By following this pagan practice anciently, God's chosen people invoked the displeasure of the Almighty. Therefore, why should this practice be even considered by Christians today? And why should Lent be preceded by the revelry involved in Carnival, which is still observed in some cultures today? Can Christians afford to uphold practices other than that which the Bible condones, especially when they are so directly linked with things that God did not want His people to recognize in any way?

 Some say that the name Easter comes from the name "Eostre" (the Saxon goddess), while others believe that it is derived from the name "Ishtar" or "Astarte" (the Assyrian counterpart for Semiramis). Nonetheless, it is quite evident that in both of these views the origin of the name Easter comes from a pagan deity that can easily be identifiable with the wife of Nimrod.  

 The practice of using dyed eggs (Easter eggs) and buns (hot cross buns) during this festival was observed in certain pagan festivities of antiquity as well. In different ancient pagan rituals these items were offered up unto false gods. In China dyed or painted eggs are used during sacred festivals, and the Druids of Britain used an egg as the sacred emblem of their order.

 As far as the buns are concerned, in ancient Greece on the festival of Astarte, buns were offered unto the queen of heaven. But the biblical record shows that Jehovah was sore displeased with His people, Israel, when they sought to follow this apparently innocent practice of the heathens in their day. In this regard we read:

 "The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger." Jer. 7:18.

 None of these practices were endorsed by Jesus Christ, and were not therefore adopted by the early Christian church. But today many of these pagan practices have become so widespread that they are now accepted with open arms by many in the Christian faith. Yes, Easter has now been changed from the Passover celebration in the Bible usage of the word, and in its place the new application of the word Easter has given rise to a revival of many ancient pagan customs in a Christian setting.

Return To Top            Previous Section          Next Section