Easter Holiday rooted in Paganism

Kalyn Hayslett, Verge Editor

Children taking pictures with a fluffy bunny, hunting for painted eggs and going to church in Sunday’s best attire sums up Easter holiday traditions.

Baskets overflowing with chocolate candies, beautiful pastel colors and cute chicks are popular symbols associated with Easter, but how does this correlate with Jesus Christ?

The Easter bunny is generally related with pure, innocent and often good intentions; however, the origins were rooted in paganism.

Communication studies professor Andrew Robinson said Easter originated with ruler Nimrod and his wife who was referred to as Queen Easter or Ishtar.

When Nimrod died, he was believed to be the Sun God and many citizens worshipped him as well as Queen Easter who was revered as the moon goddess.

“She was also the goddess of fertility. One of the things associated with fertility is a rabbit because they reproduce fairly rapidly,” Robinson said.

The rabbit and the egg were symbols that represents Easter thus representing Queen Ishtar.

“Over time our culture changes and certain practices have pagan roots and certainly materialistic roots,” Chi Alpha Pastor Mark Bettinger said.

Shelves stocked with Easter goody baskets, puffy peps candy and a variety of colorful decorations can be found in several stores during the holiday weekend.

Most of businesses use these symbols to increase sells with special sales, commercials and marketing strategies.

So what many Christians treat as a holy time that is dedicated for reverencing their God unfortunately some treat it as another materialistic focused holiday.

“It’s a savvy means to commercialize what is supposed to be a sacred time for Christians,” Robinson said.

Carol Galey, adviser of Chi Alpha, said the Easter bunny is fun but it is not the true meaning of the holiday.

“A lot of people will make it their number one thing and ignore the true meaning of Easter it’s kind of the same with Christmas,” Galey said. “We tend to let worldly things get in the way and its sad when the true message is lost.”

Regardless of Protestant or Catholic faiths believers use the holiday to remember the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Starting with Good Friday until Resurrection Sunday believers take time throughout the weekend to reflect on how Jesus’s death has impacted their lives.

“Because He was God yet He was man when He died and rose again all of eternity hinged on that weekend,” Bettinger said. “That changed the course of the world.”

Christ’s resurrection becomes a time of celebration, remembrance and reverence.

Robinson leads his congregation ACT campus ministries during a special resurrection service, which includes several performances, but one of the key elements is communion.

Communion is when believers drink grape juice that represent the blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross for our sins and eat a bread wafer that represents Jesus’s body that was bruised for believer’s iniquities.

The purpose of communion is to help believers remember Jesus’s sacrifice on Calvary.

“It’s extremely important that we never get so caught in the cares of the world that we forget all that Jesus Christ has done for us on the cross,” Robinson said.

Several dominations may sing special songs about Jesus’s resurrection during praise and worship or have a play depicting Jesus death on the cross.

Each service can be ordered differently however the heartbeat of all the believers are the same.

“It’s a time to not only to remember but it’s a great time to be thankful. God loved us so much that He gave His son for us to provide that eternal life for us,” Galey said. “You could really call it a thankful celebration because we should be thanking Him through our praise and worship.”

Kalyn Hayslett can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]