Everlasting Kingdom: Unraveling the Bible’s Secrets

Easter is Pagan!

The Truth on Easter

Easter Eggs

Article Preview: Where did Christianity get Easter? Disciples were present at Yeshua’s (Jesus’) crucifixion but in ignorance, none were present at His resurrection. Could they have been more right than we have supposed? After all, does the Bible say to commemorate Easter or Passover? Don’t read about the 4000 year long history of Easter unless you are either prepared to quit cold turkey, or have a guilty conscience!


Each year in the springtime, the mainstream Christian world celebrates a holiday called “Easter.” Many assume that this holiday originated with the resurrection of Jesus Christ but as the information provided here will demonstrate, this spring tradition of men is actually older and far less ‘holy’ than one would imagine. The following quotes have been derived from several valid and even scholarly sources. The purpose is to unveil the truth about the origins of this spring ‘Christianized’ pagan holiday. When you have read these though and discerned the truth, it is our hope that you will remain convicted and follow His lead—away from non-biblical holidays. The crux of the matter is not so much the hidden meanings of the symbols and story but one of how your heart is before your Creator. Do you decide what days to observe or does God? The bible tells us that a little leaven leavens the whole lump and with that seasonally-correct truth in mind ... Come, let us reason together.

The Origin and History of Easter

“The term ‘Easter’ is not of Christian origin. It is another form of Astarte, one of the titles of the Chaldean goddess, the queen of heaven. The festival of Pasch [Passover and the Feast of Unleavens] was a continuation of the Jewish [that is, God’s] feast ... from this Pasch the pagan festival of ‘Easter’ was quite distinct and was introduced into the apostate Western religion, as part of the attempt to adapt pagan festivals to Christianity.” (W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, William White, Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, article: Easter, p.192)

Ish·tar : Mythology The chief Babylonian and Assyrian goddess, associated with love, fertility, and war, being the counterpart to the Phoenician Astarte. (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000)

Tammuz: ancient nature deity worshiped in Babylonia. A god of agriculture and flocks, he personified the creative powers of spring. He was loved by the fertility goddess Ishtar [pronounced Easter], who, according to one legend, was so grief-stricken at his death that she contrived to enter the underworld to get him back. According to another legend, she killed him and later restored him to life. These legends and his festival, commemorating the yearly death and rebirth of vegetation, corresponded to the festivals of the Phoenician and Greek Adonis and of the Phrygian Attis. The Sumerian name of Tammuz was Dumuzi. In the Bible his disappearance is mourned by the women of Jerusalem (Ezek. 8.14). (The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001)

“There is no warrant in Scripture for the observance of Christmas and Easter as holydays, rather the contrary ... and such observance is contrary to the principles of the Reformed faith, conducive to will-worship, and not in harmony with the simplicity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” (Morton H. Smith, How is the Gold Become Dim, Jackson, Mississippi: Steering Committee for a Continuing Presbyterian church, etc., 1973, p.98)

“EASTER (AV Acts 12:4), An anachronistic mistranslation of the Gk. pascha (RSV, NEB, “Passover"), in which the AV followed such earlier versions as Tyndale and Coverdale. The Acts passage refers to the seven-day Passover festival (including the Feast of Unleavened Bread). It is reasonably certain that the NT contains no reference to a yearly celebration of the resurrection of Christ.” (International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, edited by Geoffrey Bromiley, Vol 2 of 4, p.6, article: Easter)

“The term Easter was derived from the Anglo-Saxon ‘Eostre,’ the name of the goddess of spring. In her honor sacrifices were offered at the time of the vernal equinox. By the 8th cent. the term came to be applied to the anniversary of Christ’s resurrection.” (International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, edited by Geoffrey Bromiley, Vol 2 of 4, p.6, article: Easter)

In primitive agricultural societies natural phenomena, such as rainfall, the fecundity of the earth, and the regeneration of nature were frequently personified. One of the most important pagan myths was the search of the earth goddess for her lost (or dead) child or lover (e.g., Isis and Osiris, Ishtar and Tammuz, Demeter and Persephone). This myth, symbolizing the birth, death, and reappearance of vegetation, when acted out in a sacred drama, was the fertility rite par excellence. (The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001)

Attis, in Phrygian religion, vegetation god .... Like Adonis, Attis came to be worshiped as a god of vegetation, responsible for the death and rebirth of plant life. Each year at the beginning of spring his resurrection was celebrated in a festival. In Roman religion he became a powerful celestial deity. (The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001)

“The festival, of which we read in Church history, under the name of Easter, in the third or fourth centuries, was quite a different festival from that now observed in the Romish [and Protestant] Church, and at that time was not known by any such name as Easter. It was called Pasch, or the Passover, and though not of Apostolic institution [It was instituted by God and by Jesus—Lev 23; Matt 26:17-29; Mark 14:12-25; Luke 22:7-20; I Cor 11:23-30], was very early observed by many professing Christians in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Christ [It is a memorial of His death, not His resurrection—I Cor 11:26]. That festival agreed originally with the time of the Jewish [i.e., God’s] Passover, when Christ was crucified .... That festival was not idolatrous, and it was preceded by no Lent” (Alexander Hislop, in The Two Babylons, p.104)

“The name Easter comes from Eostre, an ancient Anglo-Saxon goddess, originally of the dawn. In pagan times an annual spring festival was held in her honor.” (Compton’s Encyclopedia and Fact-Index. Vol 7. Chicago: Compton’s Learning Company, 1987, p.41)

“Easter. [Gk. pascha, from Heb. pesah] The Passover ..., and so translated in every passage except the KJV: ‘intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people’ [Acts 12:4]. In the earlier English versions Easter had been frequently used as the translation of pascha. At the last revision [1611 A.V.] Passover was substituted in all passages but this .... The word Easter is of Saxon origin, the name is eastra, the goddess of spring in whose honor sacrifices were offered about Passover time each year. By the eighth century Anglo-Saxons had adopted the name to designate the celebration of Christ’s resurrection.” (New Unger’s Bible Dictionary, article: “Easter”)

“It is called Easter in the English, from the goddess Eostre, worshiped by the Saxons with peculiar ceremonies in the month of April.” (Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol II, Edinburgh: A. Bell & C. Macfarquhar, 1768, p.464)

“The name of a feast, according to the Venerable Bede, comes from Eostre, A Teutonic goddess whose festival was celebrated in the spring. The name was given to the Christian festival in celebration of the resurrected Eostre, it was who, according to the legend, opened portals of Valhalla to recieve Baldur, called the white god because of his purity and also the sun god because his brow supplied light to mankind. It was Baldur who, after he had been murdered by Utgard Loki, the enemy of goodness and truth, spent half the year in Valhalla and the other half with the pale goddess of the lower regions. As the festival of Eostre was a celebration of the renewal of life in the spring it was easy to make it a celebration of the resurrection from the dead of Jesus. There is no doubt that the church in its early days adopted the old pagan customs and gave a Christian meaning to them.” (George William Douglas, The American Book of Days, article: Easter)

“The English word Easter is derived from the names ‘Eostre’ - ‘Eastre’ - ‘Astarte’ or ‘Ashtaroth’. Astarte was introduced into the British Isles by the Druids and is just another name for Beltis or Ishtar of the Chaldeans and Babylonians. The book of Judges records that ‘the children of Israel did evil ... in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim, and Ashtaroth, ... and forsook the LORD, and served not Him.’ Easter is just another name for Ashteroth ‘The Queen of Heaven.’ Easter was not considered a ‘Christian’ festival until the fourth century. Early Christians celebrated Passover on the 14th day of the first month and a study of the dates on which Easter is celebrated will reveal that the celebration of Easter is not observed in accordance with the prescribed time for the observance of Passover. After much debate, the Nicaean council of 325 A.D. decreed that ‘Easter’ should be celebrated on the first Sunday after the vernal equinox. Why was so much debate necessary if ‘Easter’ was a tradition passed down from the Apostles? The answer is that it was not an Apostolic institution, but, an invention of man! They had to make up some rules. History records that spring festivals in honor of the pagan fertility goddesses and the events associated with them were celebrated at the same time as ‘Easter’. In the year 399 A.D. the Theodosian Code attempted to remove the pagan connotation from those events and banned their observance. The pagan festival of Easter originated as the worship of the sun goddess, the Babylonian Queen of Heaven who was later worshiped under many names including Ishtar, Cybele, Idaea Mater (the Great Mother), or Astarte for whom the celebration of Easter is named. Easter is not another name for the Feast of Passover and is not celebrated at the Biblically prescribed time for Passover. This pagan festival was supposedly ‘Christianized’ several hundred years after Christ.” (Richard Rives, Too Long in the Sun)

“EASTER: This is from Anglo-Saxon Eostre, a pagan goddess whose festival came at the spring equinox.” (Joseph T. Shipley, Dictionary of Word Origins, New York: Philosophical Library, MCMXLV, p.131)

“The word Easter comes from the Old English word eostre, the name of a dawn-goddess worshiped in the Spring.” (Oxford Junior Encyclopaedia, London: Odhams, 1957, p.123)

“When Christianity conquered Rome: the ecclesiastical structure of the pagan church, the title and the vestments of the pontifex maximus, the worship of the Great Mother goddess and a multitude of comforting divinities, the sense of super sensible presences everywhere, the joy or solemnity of old festivals, and the pageantry of immemorial ceremony, passed like maternal blood into the new religion,—and captive Rome conquered her conqueror. The reins and skills of government were handed down by a dying empire to a virile papacy.” (Will Durant, Caesar and Christ, p. 672)

“Satan, the great counterfeiter, worked through the ‘mystery of iniquity’ to introduce a counterfeit Sabbath to take the place of the true Sabbath of God. Sunday stands side by side with Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Holy (or Maundy) Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Whitsunday, Corpus Christi, Assumption Day, All Souls’ Day, Christmas Day, and a host of other ecclesiastical feast days too numerous to mention. This array of Roman catholic feasts and fast days are all man made. None of them bears the divine credentials of the Author of the Inspired Word.” (M. E. Walsh)

“The {Roman Catholic] church took the pagan philosophy and made it the buckler of faith against the heathen. She took the pagan, Roman Pantheon, temple of all the gods, and made it sacred to all the martyrs; so it stands to this day. She took the pagan Sunday and made it the Christian Sunday. She took the pagan Easter and made it the feast we celebrate during this season. Sunday and Easter day are, if we consider their derivation, much the same. In truth, all Sundays are Sundays only because they are a weekly, partial recurrence of Easter day. The pagan Sunday was, in a manner, an unconscious preparation for Easter day.” (Willliam L. Gildea, D.D., Paschale Gaudium, in The Catholic World, Vol. LVIII., No. 348., March, 1894, published in New York by The Office of The Catholic World., pp.808-809)

“There is no indication of the observance of the Easter festival in the New Testament, or in the writings of the Apostolic Fathers. The sanctity of special times [i.e., aside from the Holy Days appointed by God] was an idea absent from the minds of the first Christians, who continued to observe the Jewish [i.e., God’s] festivals, though in a new spirit, as commemorations of events which those festivals had foreshadowed. Thus the Passover, with a new conception added to it of Christ, as the true Paschal Lamb and the firstfruits from the dead, continued to be observed, and became the Christian Easter. The name Easter (Ger. Ostern), like the names of the days of the week, is a survival from the old Teutonic mythology. According to Bede (De Temp. Rat. c.xv.) it is derived from Eostre, or Ostara, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, to whom the month answering to our April, and called Eostur-monath, was dedicated. This month, Bede says, was the same as mensis pashalis, ‘when the old festival was observed with the gladness of a new solemnity.’ The name of the festival in other languages (as Fr. paques; Ital. pasqua; Span. pascua; Dan. paaske; Dutch paasch; Welsh pasg) is derived from the Lat. pascha and the Gr. pascha. These in turn come from the Chaldee or Aramaean form pascha’, of the Hebrew name of the Passover festival pesach ...” (Encyclopaedia Brittanica, 11th edition, vol. 8, p. 828, article: “Easter”)

“In ancient Anglo-Saxon myth, Ostara is the personification of the rising sun. In that capacity she is associated with the spring and is considered to be a fertility goddess. She is the friend of all children, and to amuse them, she changed her pet bird into a rabbit. This rabbit brought forth brightly colored eggs, which the goddess gave to the children as gifts. From her name and rites the festival of Easter is derived. Ostara is identical to the Greek Eos and the Roman Aurora.” (Encyclopedia Mythica, article: Ostara)

“Vernal Mysteries (spring heathen rites) like those of Tammuz, and Osiris and Adonis flourished in the Mediterranean world and farther north and east there were others. Some of their rites and symbols were carried forward into Easter customs. Many of them have survived into our own day, unchanged yet subtly altered in their new surroundings to bear a ‘Christian’ significance.” (Christina Hole, Easter and its Customs)

“... Eastre, the Anglo-Saxon name of a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility, to whom was dedicated a month corresponding to April. Her festival was celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox; traditions associated with the festival survive in the Easter rabbit, a symbol of fertility, and in colored Easter eggs, originally painted with bright colors to represent the sunlight of spring, and used in Easter-egg rolling contests or given as gifts.” (Funk and Wagnall’s Encyclopedia, article: Easter)

“EASTER: from Old English eastre, name of a spring goddess.” (The Columbia Encyclopedia, Fifth Edition, Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1995)

“The pagan festival held at the vernal equinox to honor Eastre, the goddess of dawn, was called Eastre in Old English. Since the Christian festival celebrating Christ’s resurrection fell at about the same time, the pagan name was borrowed for it when Christianity was introduced to England, the name later being changed slightly to Easter.” (Robert Hendrickson, The Facts on File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins, New York: Facts on File, 1987, p.177)

“EASTER: West Germanic name of a pagan spring festival.” (Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, Springfield: G. & C. Merriam Company, 1976)

“The English word Easter comes from the goddess Eastre, whose festival was celebrated at the vernal equinox, and who presided over the fertility of man and animals.” (Betty Nickerson, Celebrate the Sun, Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1969, p.38)

Easter Dude

“The story of Easter is not simply a Christian story. Not only is the very name “Easter” the name of an ancient and non-Christian deity; the season itself has also, from time immemorial, been the occasion of rites and observances having to do with the mystery of death and resurrection among peoples differing widely in race and religion.” (Alan W. Watts, Easter: its Story and Meaning)

“Before Christ was born the people living in northern Europe had a goddess called Eostre, the goddess of the spring. Every year, in spring the people had a festival for her. The name of our spring festival, Easter, comes from the name Eostre.” (The Easter Book, Milan: Macdonald Educational, 1980, p.5)

“The Venerable Bede, (672-735 CE.) a Christian scholar, first asserted in his book De Ratione Temporum that Easter was named after Eostre (a.k.a. Eastre). She was the Great Mother Goddess of the Saxon people in Northern Europe. Similar Teutonic dawn goddess of fertility [were] known variously as Ostare, Ostara, Ostern, Eostra, Eostre, Eostur, Eastra, Eastur, Austron and Ausos.” (Larry Boemler, Biblical Archeology Review, Vol. 18, Number 3, 1992-May/June, article: “Asherah and Easter”)

“Eostre: Saxon and Neo-Pagan goddess of fertility and springtime whom the holiday Easter was originally named after.” (Gerina Dunwich, The Concise Lexicon of the Occult, New York: Citadel Press, 1990 p.54)

“EASTER: Bæde Temp. Rat. XV. Derives the word from Eostre (Northumb. spelling Éastre), the name of a goddess whose festival was celebrated at the vernal equinox; her name ... shows that she was originally the dawn-goddess.” (The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989)

“Astarte: a Phoenician goddess of fertility and sexual love who corresponds to the Babylonian and Assyrian goddess Ishtar and who became identified with the Egyptian Isis, the Greek Aphrodite, and others.” (Oxford Dictionary of English)

“Ishtar: ancient fertility deity, the most widely worshiped goddess in Babylonian and Assyrian religion. Ishtar was important as a mother goddess, goddess of love, and goddess of war. Her cult spread throughout W Asia, and she became identified with various other earth goddesses (see GREAT MOTHER OF THE GODS). Great Mother of the Gods: in ancient Middle Eastern religion (and later in Greece, Rome, and W Asia), mother goddess, the great symbol of the earth’s fertility. As the creative force in nature, she was worshiped under many names, including ASTARTE (Syria), CERES (Rome), CYBELE (Phrygia), DEMETER (Greece), ISHTAR (Babylon), and ISIS (Egypt). The later forms of her cult involved the worship of a male deity (her son or lover, e.g., ADONIS, OSIRIS), whose death and resurrection symbolized the regenerative power of the earth.” (www.encyclopedia.com)

When we reflect how often the Church has skillfully contrived to plant the seeds of the new faith on the old stock of paganism, we may surmise that the Easter celebration of the dead and risen Christ was grafted upon a similar celebration of the dead and risen Adonis, which, as we have seen reason to believe, was celebrated in Syria at the same season. ( Sir James George Frazer (1854–1941). The Golden Bough. 1922.)

“Thus much already laid down may seem a sufficient treatise to prove that the celebration of the feast of Easter began everywhere more of custom than by any commandment either of Christ or any apostle.” (Socrates, Hist Ecclesiates., lib. v. cap. 22)

“Just as many Christian customs and similar observance had their origin in pre-Christian times, so, too some of the popular traditions of .... Easter dates back to ancient nature rites .... The origin of the Easter egg is based on the fertility lore of the Indo-European races .... The Easter bunny had its origin in pre-Christian fertility lore. Hare and rabbit were the most fertile animals our forefathers knew, serving as symbols of ... new life in the spring season.” (Jesuit author Francis X. Weiser, The Easter Book, pp.15,181,&188)

“As with the other Christian holidays, there was also a holiday in ancient times that was celebrated at about the same time. In this case, it was the celebration of the vernal equinox-the tribute to the goddess of spring, Eastre. Eastre was an Anglo-Saxon goddess who is reputed to have opened the gates of Valhalla for the slain sun god, Baldrun, thereby bringing light to man. Easter also refers to the rising of the sun in the east.” (Carole Potter, Encyclopedia of Superstition, London: Michael O’Mara Books, 1983, p.69)

“Then look at Easter. When 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, whose name, as pronounced by the people of Nineveh, was evidently identical with that now in common use in this country. That name, as found by Layard on the Assyrian monuments, is Ishtar.” [The Two Babylons (Or The Papal Worship), Alexander Hislop, 1916, Neptune, NJ, Loizeaux Brothers, Inc., p.103]

“When we reflect how often the [Roman Catholic] Church has skillfully contrived to plant the seeds of the new faith on the old stock of paganism, we may surmise that the Easter celebration of the dead and risen Christ was grafted upon the similar celebration of the dead and risen Adonis, which, as we have seen reason to believe, was celebrated in Syria at the same season.” (Sir James George Frazer, The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion, New York : Macmillan Company, 1951, p .401)

“About the end of the sixth century, the first decisive attempt was made to enforce the observance of the new calendar. It was in Britain that the first attempt was made in this way; and here the attempt met with vigorous resistance. The difference, in point of time, betwixt the Christian Pasch, as observed in Britain by the native Christians, and the Pagan Easter enforced by Rome, at the time of its enforcement, was a whole month; and it was only by violence and bloodshed, at last, that the Festival of the Anglo-Saxon or Chaldean goddess came to supersede that which had been held in honour of Christ.” [The Two Babylons (Or The Papal Worship), Alexander Hislop, 1916, Neptune, NJ, Loizeaux Brothers, Inc., p.107]

“Many of the customs associated with Easter are derived from various spring fertility rites of the pagan religions which Christianity supplanted.” (Encyclopedia International, China: Lexicon Publications, 1973, p.190)

“Easter is connected in many ways with early pagan rituals that accompanied the arrival of spring.” (Merit Students Encyclopedia, New York: P. F. Collier, 1983, p.167-168)

“Both of these festivals [Easter and Christmas] have roots in old pagan rituals that they have superceded.” (G. MacGregor, Dictionary of Religion and Philosophy, New York: Paragon House, 1991, p.207)

“Even though it [Easter] has stood for over fifteen hundred years as the symbol of the resurrection of Jesus to members of the Christian Church, it is not entirely a Christian festival. Its origins go far back into pagan rites and customs.” (Charlotte Adams, Easter Idea Book, New York: M. Barrows and Company, 1954, p.11)

“Many of the customs associated with Easter originate in pagan celebrations of spring.” (New Standard Encyclopedia, Vol 6. Chicago: Standard Educational, 1991,pE-25-E-27)

“There is no indication of the observance of the Easter festival in the New Testament, or in the writings of the [so-called] apostolic Fathers. The sanctity of special times was an idea absent from the mind of the first Christians.” (The Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th ed., Vol VIII, Cambridge: The University Press, 1910, p.828)

“Around the Christian observance of Easter as the climax of the liturgical drama of Holy Week and Good Friday, folk customs have collected, many of which have been handed down from the ancient ceremonial and symbolism of European and Middle Eastern pagan spring festivals brought into relation with the resurrection theme.” (The New Encyclopædia Britannica, 15th ed. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 1992. p.333)

“When Christians first spread across Europe, believers in the new faith changed many of the older rites and ceremonies, adapting them to fit with the life and teaching of Jesus. They did not try to stop people from having a great spring festival for their old pagan goddess, Eostre.” (Julian Fox, Easter, Vero Beach: Rourke Enterprises, 1989, p.11)

“About 200 B.C. mystery cults began to appear in Rome just as they had earlier in Greece. Most notable was the Cybele cult centered on Vatican hill .... Associated with the Cybele cult was that of her lover, Attis (the older Tammuz, Osiris, Dionysus, or Orpheus under a new name). He was a god of ever-reviving vegetation. Born of a virgin, he died and was reborn annually. The festival began as a day of blood on Black Friday and culminated after three days in a day of rejoicing over the resurrection.” (EASTER: ITS ORIGINS AND MEANINGS by The Religious Tolerance Organization Web site:http://www.religioustolerance.org/easter.htm)

Easter Eggs

“Eggs were a primitive symbol of fertility; but Christians saw in them a symbol of the tomb from which Christ rose, and continued the [pagan] practice of coloring, giving, and eating them at Easter.” (New Age Encyclopedia.,Vol 6. China: Lexicon Publications, 1973, p.190)

“The custom may have its origin in paganism, for a great many pagan customs, celebrating the return of spring, gravitated to Easter. The egg is the emblem of the germinating life of early spring.” (Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol.5, article: Easter)

“Eggs were hung up in the Egyptian temples. Bunsen calls attention to the mundane egg, the emblem of generative life, proceeding from the mouth of the great god of Egypt. The mystic egg of Babylon, hatching the Venus Ishtar, fell from heaven to the Euphrates. Dyed eggs were sacred Easter offerings in Egypt, as they are still in China and Europe. Easter, or spring, was the season of birth, terrestrial and celestial.” (James Bonwick, Egyptian Belief and Modern Thought, pp. 211-212)

“... 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.” (Encylopaedia Britannica, article: Easter)

“Eggs were sacred to many ancient civilizations and formed an integral part of religious ceremonies in Egypt and the Orient. Dyed eggs were hung in Egyptian temples, and the egg was regarded as the emblem of regenerative life proceeding from the mouth of the great Egyptian god.” (Anon, Easter: The Pagan Origins of Common Easter Traditions)

“The egg has become a popular Easter symbol .... In ancient Egypt and Persia, friends exchanged decorated eggs at the spring equinox, the beginning of their New Year. These eggs were a symbol of fertility for them .... Christians of the Near East adopted this tradition, and the Easter egg became a religious symbol. It represented the tomb from which Jesus came forth to new life.” (Greg Dues, Catholic Customs and Traditions, 1992, p.101)

“The origin of the Pasch eggs is just as clear. The ancient Druids bore an egg, as the sacred emblem of their order. In the Dionysiaca, or mysteries of Bacchus, as celebrated in Athens, one part of the nocturnal ceremony consisted in the consecration of an egg. The Hindu fables celebrate their mundane egg as of a golden colour. The people of Japan make their sacred egg to have been brazen. In China, at this hour, dyed or painted eggs are used on sacred festivals, even as in this country. In ancient times eggs were used in the religious rites of the Egyptians and the Greeks, and were hung up for mystic purposed in their temples. From Egypt these sacred eggs can be distinctly traced to the banks of the Euphrates. The classic poets are full of the fable of the mystic egg of the Babylonians; and thus its tale is told by Hyginus, the Egyptian, the learned keeper of the Palatine library at Rome, in the time of Augustus, who was skilled in all the wisdom of the native country: ‘An egg of wondrous size is said to have fallen from heaven into the river Euphrates. The fishes rolled it to the bank, were the doves having settled upon it, and hatched it, out came Venus, who afterward was called the Syrian Goddess’—that is, Astarte. Hence the egg became one of the symbols of Astarte or Easter; and accordingly, in Cyprus, one of the chosen seats of the worship of Venus, or Astarte, the egg of wondrous size was represented on a grand scale.” [The Two Babylons (Or The Papal Worship) , Alexander Hislop, 1916, Neptune, NJ, Loizeaux Brothers, Inc., pp.108-109]

“Christians adapted the symbols, ceremonies and name of the spring festivities of Ishtar-Esther-Eostre to create Easter. Jesus breaks through the hard, cold coffin shell of death to be reborn every spring. In the resurrection of Christ, we witness the vernal rebirth of the soul.” (D. Henes, Celestially Auspicious Occasions: Seasons, Cycles and Celebrations, New York: Perigee Book)

“The Persians and Egyptians colored eggs and ate them during their new year’s celebration, which came in the spring.” (The New Book of Knowledge, Danbury: Grolier, 1991, p.44)

“In northern Europe, Eostre, the Teutonic-Anglo-Saxon goddess of dawn, evolved from Astarte in Babylon and from Ishtar from Assyria. Eggs, dyed blood-red and rolled in the newly sown soil at spring equinox, ensured fertility of the fields. The Moon Hare, sacred animal totem of Eostre, laid more colored eggs for children to find. From the name, Eostre, Astarte, and Ishtar, we derive the scientific terminology for the female hormone and reproduction cycle: estrogen and estrus. Easter also derives from Eostre.” (D. Henes, Celestially Auspicious Occasions: Seasons, Cycles and Celebrations, New York: Perigee Book)

“Since man’s earliest time, the egg, symbolizing the universe, figures in creation mythologies including those of China, Japan, Finland, Siberia and parts of Africa .... When today’s children hunt for Easter eggs they are re-enacting one of man’s oldest rituals.” (Betty Nickerson, Celebrate the Sun, Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1969, p.38)

“This [Easter egg hunting] is not mere child’s play, but the vestige of a fertility rite” (Funk & Wagnalls’ Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend, Volume 1, pg.335)

“The egg, as a symbol of New Life is much older than Christianity and the coloring of it at the spring festival is also of very ancient origin. The Egyptians, the Persians, the Greeks and the Romans used it this way. Eggs were eaten during the spring festival from very early times. Children are told that the rabbit lays the Easter eggs in a garden for the children to find. This is an adoption of the pagan custom of regarding the rabbit as an emblem of fertility, that is, of new life.” (George William Douglas, The American Book of Days, article: Easter)

“The exchange of Easter eggs, which symbolize new life and fertility, is one of the oldest traditions. Rabbits and flowers are also pagan fertility symbols.” (New Standard Encyclopedia, Vol. 6, Chicago: Standard Educational, 1991. pE-25-E-27)

Easter Lilies

“The so-called ‘Easter lily’ has long been revered by pagans of various lands as a holy symbol associated with the reproductive organs. It was considered a phallic symbol!” (A. J. Dager, Facts and Fallacies of the Resurrection, p.5)

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Minor update January 15, 2012