I read this article today concerning the history behind modern-day Easter traditions. After reading the first paragraph, I had an idea where it would be going…
Have you ever wondered why we observe the present-day Easter symbols and traditions? If you knew their origins, would it make a difference in the way you allow your children to observe this holiday? Like the celebration of Christ’s birth at Christmas, Easter has turned into a melting pot of activities that have nothing to do with our Lord’s death and resurrection. Although traditions like the Easter bunny and Easter egg hunts seem as harmless as believing in Santa Claus, they actually have a significant association with pagan worship and rituals from the past.
What followed in the article was very interesting, information I didn’t know: where the name “Easter” came from, Queen Semiramis’s history, the origin of Easter, Easter egg baskets, and the Easter bunny. I loved learning this history! It puts names into places for some of the idols that the Israelites worshipped. Similar to Christmas, this pagan holiday was kidnapped, sucked dry and filled with the gospel of Christ. So, is there anything Christian about Easter eggs and bunnies. No, of course not. Is there a claim that there is? No. So, is it wrong to go on an Easter egg hunt?
Apparently, according to this article, it is.
Is it wrong to do adapt pagan holidays like this? Is it sinful to use any kind of pagan imagery at all? I don’t think so at all, and I do have a problem with the heavy-handed language around a “better way to celebrate the resurrection of Christ.” I understand where the concern comes from, but I think it is too strict a view.
Jesus came and taught a Jewish culture, chained to ritual, tradition and strict adherence to the law, all about the heart. You have in Matthew 5 the Beatitudes, and how murder starts in the heart, and how adultery starts in the heart, and to tell the truth, and to love your enemies. When you pray, go into your inner room and don’t be seen like the hypocrites. The gospels are the cure for our hearts. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
If all children get is an Easter egg, some chocolate, and a fluffy bunny, they have really received nothing for their hearts. This is what our secular culture provides. The problem with the modern, humanistic celebration of Easter is that it has taken out Christ and replaced it with crème filling (lard/fat and sugar, by the way). It does reckon to a dark past of wicked rituals but to a frivolous future instant gratification and short-term spiritual memory loss.No matter the history of Easter, the hearts of all the little children in the world are not participating in rituals of Semiramis. There may be selfishness, and sour tummies, but I just don’t agree with the ominous leap this article tries to make.
Do the parents of Christians stop only at eggs and bunnies? Or do they also teach of Jesus life, death and resurrection? This is from a Christian home school site, so of course the majority of readers will be Christians. Indeed, shouldn’t these rituals be a chance to engage our communities and build relationships? Just yesterday, a coworker told me she saw the sign at my church for the huge Easter egg hunt today. I told her it was open to everyone, and will now have a chance to have our families mingle.
Here is a case study: last night, after using a dozen plastic colored eggs to review the passion of Christ with our family, we watched C.S. Lewis’s “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.” After reading this article, and having the thoughts of this post in mind, I was struck immediately by how Lewis took pagan mythology and creatures, removed the paganism, and effectively shared the Gospel. The same can be said and done with our modern rituals as well.
But, in the end, Easter really has nothing at all to do with Queen Semiramis anymore.