The origins of Easter are rooted in European traditions. The name Easter comes from a pagan figure called Eastre (or Eostre) who was celebrated as the goddess of spring by the Saxons of Northern Europe. A festival called Eastre was held during the spring equinox by these people to honor her. The goddess Eastre’s earthly symbol was the rabbit, which was also known as a symbol of fertility. Originally, there were some very pagan (and sometimes utterly evil) practices that went along with the celebration. Today, Easter is almost a completely commercialized holiday, with all the focus on Easter eggs and the Easter bunny being remnants of the goddess worship.
In the Christian faith, Easter has come to mean the celebration of the resurrection of Christ three days after His crucifixion. It is the oldest Christian holiday and the most important day of the church year because of the significance of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the events upon which Christianity is based. Easter Sunday is preceded by the season of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting and repentance culminating in Holy Week and followed by a 50-day Easter season that stretches from Easter to Pentecost.
Because of the commercialization and pagan origins of Easter, many churches prefer to refer to it as “Resurrection Sunday.” The rationale is the more we focus on Christ and the less we focus on the pagan holiday, the better. As previously mentioned, the resurrection of Christ is the central theme of Christianity. Paul says that without this, our faith is futile 1 Corinthians 15:17(HCSB)17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. What more wonderful reason could we have to celebrate! What is important is the true reason behind our celebration, which is that Christ was resurrected from the dead, making it possible for us to have eternal life
Romans 6:4(HCSB)4 Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life!
Does the following sound familiar?—Spring is in the air! Flowers and bunnies decorate the home. Father helps the children paint beautiful designs on eggs dyed in various colors. These eggs, which will later be hidden and searched for, are placed into lovely, seasonal baskets. The wonderful aroma of the hot cross buns mother is baking in the oven waft through the house. Forty days of abstaining from special foods will finally end the next day. The whole family picks out their Sunday best to wear to the next morning’s sunrise worship service to celebrate the savior’s resurrection and the renewal of life. Everyone looks forward to a succulent ham with all the trimmings. It will be a thrilling day. After all, it is one of the most important religious holidays of the year.
Easter, right? No! This is a description of an ancient Babylonian family—2,000 years before Christ—honoring the resurrection of their god, Tammuz, who was brought back from the underworld by his mother/wife, Ishtar (after whom the festival was named). As Ishtar was actually pronounced “Easter” in most Semitic dialects, it could be said that the event portrayed here is, in a sense, Easter. Of course, the occasion could easily have been a Phrygian family honoring Attis and Cybele, or perhaps a Phoenician family worshipping Adonis and Astarte. Also fitting the description well would be a heretic Israelite family honoring the Canaanite Baal and Ashtoreth. Or this depiction could just as easily represent any number of other immoral, pagan fertility celebrations of death and resurrection—including the modern Easter celebration as it has come to us through the Anglo-Saxon fertility rites of the goddess Eostre or Ostara. These are all the same festivals, separated only by time and culture.
Astarte (Easter)-worship was always associated with the worship of Baal or sun worship. Astarte was Baal’s wife. Notice that another name for Astarte was Ashtaroth. The following quote makes this point clear: “What means the term Easter itself? It is not a Christian name. It bears its Chaldean origin on its very forehead. Easter is nothing else than Astarte, one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven…Now, the Assyrian goddess, or Astarte, is identified with Semiramis by Athenagoras (Legatio, vol. ii. p. 179), and by Lucian (De Dea Syria, vol iii. p. 382)…Now, no name could more exactly picture forth the character of Semiramis, as queen of Babylon, than the name of ‘Asht-tart,’ for that just means ‘The woman that made towers’…Ashturit, then…is obviously the same as the Hebrew ‘Ashtoreth’” (Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons, pp. 103, 307-308).
Notice this conclusive quote from Microsoft Encarta Multimedia Encyclopedia: “Ishtar was the Great Mother, the goddess of fertility and the QUEEN OF HEAVEN.” So, in actuality, Ashtaroth (Ishtar) was Nimrod’s harlotrous, mother/wife widow, Semiramis, as many other ancient historians attest! Easter is now established as none other than the Ashtaroth of the Bible! We can now examine the scriptures that show how God views the worship of this pagan goddess—by any name!
God Calls Easter Evil
Now that we know that Easter is the goddess Ashtaroth, we need to look into the Bible and see what God thinks of her. Look at this verse:” Judges 2:11-13 The Israelites did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. They worshiped the Baals 12 and abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They went after other gods from the surrounding peoples and bowed down to them. They infuriated the Lord, 13 for they abandoned Him and worshiped Baal and the Ashtoreths.[Easter]
The context shows that God allowed His people to be taken from their land into captivity as a result of this sin! It continues, explaining how God delivered His people over and over again through a series of judges. After each deliverance, Israel returned to the same false gods, which in turn brought another captivity, via conquest by the nations around them. They never seemed to learn, as Judges 2:19(HCSB) makes clear: 19 Whenever the judge died, the Israelites would act even more corruptly than their fathers, going after other gods to worship and bow down to them. They did not turn from their evil practices or their obstinate ways. In Judges 10:6(HCSB)6 Then the Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. They worshiped the Baals and the Ashtoreths, the gods of Aram, Sidon, and Moab, and the gods of the Ammonites and the Philistines. They abandoned Yahweh and did not worship Him., Israel repeats this pattern of stubbornness. And God, just as stubbornly, still calls it evil.
Baal and Ashtaroth worship reappeared during Samuel’s time. Samuel told Israel, “…put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve Him only…Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only” 1 Samuel 7:3-4(HCSB)3 Samuel told them, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, get rid of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths that are among you, dedicate yourselves to the Lord, and worship only Him. Then He will rescue you from the hand of the Philistines.” 4 So the Israelites removed the Baals and the Ashtoreths and only worshiped the Lord.
1 Samuel 12:10-11(HCSB)10 Then they cried out to the Lord and said, ‘We have sinned, for we abandoned the Lord and worshiped the Baals and the Ashtoreths. Now deliver us from the power of our enemies, and we will serve You.’ 11 So the Lord sent Jerubbaal, Barak, Jephthah, and Samuel. He rescued you from the power of the enemies around you, and you lived securely., Samuel publicly recounted Israel’s history to them. He reminded them that they continually returned to obeying God, only to fall backwards into idolatry again and again!
The most widely-practiced customs on Easter Sunday relate to the symbol of the rabbit (‘Easter bunny’) and the egg. As outlined previously, the rabbit was a symbol associated with Eostre, representing the beginning of Springtime. Likewise, the egg has come to represent Spring, fertility and renewal. In Germanic mythology, it is said that Ostara healed a wounded bird she found in the woods by changing it into a hare. Still partially a bird, the hare showed its gratitude to the goddess by laying eggs as gifts.
The Encyclopedia Britannica clearly explains the pagan traditions associated with the egg: “The egg as a symbol of fertility and of renewed life goes back to the ancient Egyptians and Persians, who had also the custom of colouring and eating eggs during their spring festival.” In ancient Egypt, an egg symbolised the sun, while for the Babylonians, the egg represents the hatching of the Venus Ishtar, who fell from heaven to the Euphrates.
Pagan Elements of Modern Easter Celebrations:
As you might be able to tell, the name Easter was likely derived from Eostre, the name of the Anglo-Saxon lunar goddess, as was as the name for the female hormone estrogen. Eostres feast day was held on the first full moon following the vernal equinox a similar calculation as is used for Easter among Western Christians. On this date the goddess Eostre is believed by her followers to mate with the solar god, conceiving a child who would be born 9 months later on Yule, the winter solstice which falls on December 21st.Two of Eostres most important symbols were the hare (both because of its fertility and because ancient people saw a hare in the full moon) and the egg, which symbolized the growing possibility of new life. Each of these symbols continues to play an important role in modern celebrations of Easter. Curiously, they are also symbols which Christianity has not fully incorporated into its own mythology. Other symbols from other holidays have been given new Christian meanings, but attempts to do the same here have failed.American Christians continue to generally celebrate Easter as a religious holiday, but public references to Easter almost never include any religious elements. Christians and non-Christians alike celebrate Easter in decidedly non-Christian ways: with chocolate and other forms of Easter candy, Easter eggs, Easter egg hunts, the Easter bunny, and so forth. Most cultural references to Easter include these elements, most of which are pagan in origin and all of which have become commercialized.Because these aspects of Easter are shared by both Christians and non-Christians, they constitute the common cultural recognition of Easter the specifically religious celebrations of Christians belong to them alone and are not part of the wider culture. The shift of religious elements away from the general culture and into Christians churches has been occurring over many decades and isnt quite complete.