“Easter” Linguistic Idolatry or God’s Providence?


Yes, that is a pentagram in her right hand. Is this what we want associated with the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ?

While the precise etymology is unknown, scholars accepting the derivation proposed by the 8th-century English scholar St. Bede, believe it probably comes from 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 now used in Easter-egg rolling contests or given as gifts.

Early Christians began celebrating the Resurrection at the time of the Passover, but to distinguish themselves from their Jewish roots, they began their celebration a week later.  As the years continued, the German Teutonic tradition’s dependence on the lunar calendar served to “date” when Resurrection Sunday should be celebrated.  Incidentally, some Christians do still celebrate the Resurrection on the Biblical calendar.  The Greek Orthodox Church celebrates the Resurrection based on the annually legitimate time to celebrate—Passover.  It’s the “first day of the week” after the last day of Passover.  Interesting about that first “first day of the week….”

My church, Carrollwood Baptist Church, will celebrate the Resurrection on April 17, not “Easter.”  We take the first and second commandments of the Decalogue seriously; i.e., a “Teutonic goddess of fertility” has no place in a Yahweh-fearing church.  Of course, most people don’t think they’re worshiping “Eastre” when celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus as the Christ. Our linguistics, nonetheless, need some edification.  God is smart—He’s even taken a linguistic lie and associated it with the greatest event so far on earth.

So, should you wish people, “Happy Easter?” Seriously?  But when you’re greeted with a “Happy Easter!”—bunnies aside—take the time to remind them Who was resurrected, and why! You’ll be blessed, and so will they.

2 thoughts on ““Easter” Linguistic Idolatry or God’s Providence?

  1. While I appreciate your views and Thank you for giving the history behind “Easter Linguistics,” I believe if you celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ on this day and you know that HE is the Reason for the Season, that HE Has Risen, you can still say Happy Easter. I cannot count on two hands how many Easter egg hunts MLBC has hosted in past years, since I was a child.
    I was raised celebrating Easter…the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter Sonrise service, regular Easter service wearing our Easter best. Home for a wonderful Easter dinner, followed up by an Easter egg hunt with baskets, eggs, candy.
    If you know the difference and teach your children the truth…I see no harm.
    That’s my view.

  2. I suppose for some using a pagan word with a pagan heritage with pagan practices to celebrate the Resurrection is okay for some, as you pointed out. MLBC, by the way, has not had an “easter egg hunt” since 2007, for the record.
    As for me, I would be uncomfortable with calling the Lord’s Supper “Bacchanal” even if many people recognized it as commemorating Christ’s crucifixion, just as many people associate “easter” with Christ’s resurrection. Words do matter. All have an etymology, and most importantly, an ideational foundation which may not correspond to their current usage. Sometimes that history is innocuous; sometimes it’s perverted. Easter is one such perversion.
    Peace in and through Him,

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