What Easter is All About
As the sun rises on this important Christian holiday, I think back on how my family and I have followed tradition. Growing up, Easter was all about going to church for Love Feast and Communion, as well as the washing of the feet, to remember the events in the Bible leading up to Jesus' death on the cross and His resurrection. But it was also about gearing up for egg hunts and choosing the nicest outfit to get to wear to church on Easter Sunday. We put our baskets out on Saturday night and awoke to our favorite candy and a special present, or two. These were traditions expected every year. Eventually, I had my own family and I handed these traditions down to my kids. It wasn't until recently that I learned something about the origin of these traditions and wish that I could redo some of the past.
Ishtar - fertility goddess of the moon
From the beginning
For any of you who read the Bible, or at least know some of the main stories, you know about Noah and the flood. The flood was to rid the world of so much evil and to begin with God again. Unfortunately, history tends to repeat itself. Noah had a great-grandson named Nimrod. He was evil and a great opposer of God. According to Paul S. Taylor, Films For Christ, and author of "What is the Origin of Easter" on www.christiansanswers.net:
Jewish tradition indicates that Nimrod was a tyrant “who made all of the people rebellious against God.” It is evident from history that Nimrod was not only a political leader, but also the lead priest of a form of occultic worship.
This Nimrod was married to a woman named Ishtar, or Easter. In an article, "The Babylonian Origins of Easter (Ishtar)", it is said that 'after the death of his father, Nimrod married his own mother and became a powerful King', (lasttrumpetministries.org). His mother, wife, and queen, Ishtar, was not a faithful wife and ended up pregnant to another man. She had a son, Tammuz. To get around her infidelity, she told everyone that he was the "promised seed". All three ended up being worshipped as gods - Nimrod was the sun god and the earth's creator; Ishatar was the fertility goddess of the moon; and Tammuz was the reincarnation of Nimrod. The Easter bunny, as we know it, symbolizes Ishtar. The egg is a symbol of fertility. According to Taylor,
“Easter” is simply one of the names of a woman who mightily deceived the world and whose religion has caused untold suffering and misery. She was clearly an enemy of the true God, and her son Tammuz was an anti-Christ, a false messiah that ultimately deceived millions.
map of Babylonia
Passing on the Story
According to www.npr.org - “What You Didn’t Know About What You Already Know About Easter”, Emma Bowman, the story of Easter goes all the way back to the 8th century with an English monk named Bede. He wrote various historical books, including, The Reckoning of Time, One excerpt he wrote was this:
A little girl found a bird that was close to death and prayed to Eostra for help. Eostra appeared, crossing a rainbow bridge — the snow melting before her feet. Seeing the bird was badly wounded, she turned it into a hare, and told the little girl that from now on, the hare would come back once a year bearing rainbow colored eggs.
This and other stories traveled for miles and throughout countries, carrying the symbols of rabbits and eggs with them. Emma Bowman found that, "Legends featuring bunny imagery associated to Easter continued to be written down in 1500s Germany and the first story about a rabbit hiding eggs in a garden was published in 1680." Of course, many people began to leave their homelands looking for freedom and took these stories with them. As time went on, these tales were shared and changed and shared and changed through many generations until it no longer was known where the stories originated. It was just tradition, something done because it's always been done
the Venerable Bede
In our society, today, we have taken these ancient pagan practices and placed them among our religious beliefs, making them tradition. For Christians, we begin the Easter season with Lent, 40 days before Easter Sunday (also known as Resurrection Sunday). It is 40 days, because Jesus spent that much time praying and fasting in preparation for the prophesy of His death, dodging Satan on several occasions. Christians are to use this time to reflect, repent, and fast, renewing their relationship with God. The week before, there are several times when church services are held. One service is held on Maundy Thursday:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maundy_ThursdayWikipediaMaundy Thursday (also known as Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great and Holy Thursday, Sheer Thursday, and Thursday of Mysteries) is the Christian holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter. It commemorates the Maundy [the Passover] and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles as described in the Canonical gospels.
Then there is Good Friday, 'good' being an old English term for HOLY, and it is the day on which Jesus was beaten, humiliated, and forced to carry His heavy, wooden cross to a place called Golgotha. There His feet and hands were nailed to the cross and He was left hanging there to die. According to www.history.com, in an article called, "Bet You Didn't Know: Easter Traditions",
[The Easter season is] called a movable feast because it doesn’t fall on a set date every year...Holy Saturday, the day before Resurrection Sunday, focuses on the transition between the crucifixion and resurrection.
History of the Holidays: Easter
As for me
This was the first Easter that we didn't put out baskets for our kids - our youngest is 16. I've been fighting myself on this issue on whether we should have allowed these traditions to infiltrate our house. One part of me looks back and remembers the fun the boys had looking for eggs and enjoying the candy. They loved it! But another part of me, who now knows how the holiday started, wonders if it should have been introduced to them to begin with. I suppose, as long as they know the most important reason for this holiday season and focus on Jesus' sacrifice for us, that it shouldn't matter that they were allowed some other traditions that involved family fun. What do you think?