The History of Easter

Easter is a favorite holiday for many people, but not everyone knows how the holiday got its start. It is not often talked about, but Easter began as a pagan holiday. The Pioneer decided to take a closer look at the true meaning of the original Easter holiday.

The first Easter ceremony was a holiday designed to commemorate the resurrection of an ancient Egyptian god named Tammuz, who was believed to be the only son of a moon goddess and sun god. Many Christians today attend sunrise services, which may have originated from worshipping a pagan sun god during the spring time, the practice originally begun by the Egyptians. Tammuz’s story is extremely similar to how Easter is now a day to remember Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, His sacrifice on the cross, and His resurrection.

Courtesy of Google Images

Courtesy of Google Images

Between 824 BC and 811 BC, there was a queen of Babylon, named Semiramis, who claimed to be immaculately conceived, just like Jesus was. Semiramis taught that the moon was a goddess that layed eggs whenever there was a full moon. She claimed that she hatched during the first full moon after the spring equinox, in the Euphrates River. It was a tradition to not eat any meat for the first 40 days before the spring equinox, similar to Lent today, which is when people give something up for the 40 days before Easter. Starting from the first Easter celebration, rabbits were considered sacred because they represented the moon goddess’s fertility. This is why eggs and rabbits are usually associated with Easter. Semiramis later became known as Ishtar, pronounced Easter, which is how the holiday got its name.

Courtesy of Google Images

Courtesy of Google Images

Christians of Jewish origin were the first to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Since the date of Jesus’s resurrection was very close to the timing of Passover, they likely celebrated the resurrection at the same time, as part of their Passover festival. In 314 A.D. the Catholic church started to integrate the pagan holiday of Easter into their church and incorporated Jesus’s resurrection as part of the holiday.

There are many Christians today who not only celebrate Easter on sunday, but also participate in a Holy Week, which consists of Palm Sunday, Clean Monday, Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Some people focus solely on Jesus and His sacrifice while others include things like the Easter Bunny and Easter eggs. There are some people who believe that the pagan roots of Easter don’t tie in to the way it is celebrated now, and there are some people who think it is completely wrong to celebrate Easter at all because of its origin.

Courtesy of Google Images

Courtesy of Google Images

Easter is important to some people because it is part of their belief system, traditions, or just because they enjoy the holiday. What do Easter and its origin and celebration mean to you? Share in a comment.

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Posted on March 27, 2013, in Spiritual Life, Top Stories and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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