What do the name "Easter," colored eggs, hot-cross buns, and bunnies have to do with honoring Jesus and Jehovah?
The very name of this celebration in English ("Easter") is the name of a pagan goddess! Many of the customs originally used in worshiping this ancient European goddess are the same ones used today in celebrating Easter!
"East'er ..., n. [AS. eastre, pl. eastron, from name of old Teutonic goddess of spring, AS. Eastre.]" - Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, 1953.
"... Eastre was the goddess of spring in the religion of the ancient Angles and Saxons. Every April a festival was celebrated in her honor. .... The festival [eventually] was celebrated in honor of the resurrection of Christ but was still known as Easter after the old goddess." p. 215, v. 5, Britannica Junior, 1957.
"(the word Easter is derived from the [Anglo-Saxon] name of Eastre, the Spring-goddess….)" – p. 240, An Encyclopedia of Religion, Virgilius Ferm, The Philosophical Library, 1945.
"originally the spring festival in honor of the Teutonic goddess of light and spring known in Anglo-Saxon as Eastre. As early as the 8th century the name was transferred by the Anglo-Saxons to the Christian Festival designed to celebrate the resurrection of Christ." - The Westminster Dictionary of the Bible.
"Rooted in ancient veneration, the date of Easter was long regarded as symbolizing the rebirth of living things that had passed through the death of winter. Eostre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess who presided over the vernal equinox, eventually gave her name to the Christian [?] festival." - How It Started, Garrison, copyright 1972 by Abingdon Press, pp. 49-50.
"Amongst the Anglo-Saxons the month of April was dedicated to Eostre or Ostara, Goddess of Spring; and her great feast has given its name to our Easter. Here again the Church was quite frank about it, and Bede states that the feast in England was simply `the old [pagan] festival observed with the gladness of a new solemnity.'" - Paganism in our Christianity, Weigall, p. 261, Gordon Press, 1974 (Reprint of the edition published by Putnam, New York.)
So how did the name of a pagan European goddess come to be in the KJV translation of Acts 12:4?
"EASTER - originally a Saxon word (Eostre), denoting a goddess of the Saxons, in honour of whom sacrifices were offered about the time of the Passover. Hence the name came to be given to the festival of the Resurrection of Christ, which occurred at the time of the Passover. In the early English versions this word [Easter] was frequently used as the translation of the Greek pascha (the Passover). When the Authorized Version [KJV] (1611) was formed, the word `passover' was used in all passages in which this word pascha occurred, except in Acts 12:4. In the Revised Version the proper word, "passover," is always used." – Easton's Bible Dictionary, Thomas Nelson Publ.
* * * *
"Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard [in a respectful, or even tolerating, manner] on your lips." Exodus 23:13, NIVSB.
* * * *
"Eating special buns at the festival of the pagan goddess Eostre has long been an established custom among the natives of Britain. Early Christian missionaries who tried to stop this practice got nowhere. Eventually.... converts ... were permitted to continue eating buns at the time of the spring festival...." - How It Started, p. 50.
"Like the Greeks, the [pagan] Romans ate bread marked with a cross ... at public sacrifices, such bread being usually purchased at the doors of the temple and then taken in with them - a custom alluded to by St. Paul in 1 Cor. x. 28. The cross-bread was eaten by pagan Saxons in honour of Easter, their goddess of light. .... The custom, in fact, was practically universal, and the early Church adroitly adopted the practice, grafting it on to the Eucharist and so giving us the hot-cross-bun." - The Encyclopedia Britannica, 1959, Vol. 4, p. 381.
"Long before the Christian festival of Easter was established, persons of many cultures exchanged eggs at the time of the year when nature wakes up from sleep. Wealthy persons used to cover their gift eggs with gilt or even gold leaf; ordinary persons usually colored them red. Today's [Easter] egg hunt, involving a dozen or hundreds or thousands of decorated or candy eggs, is so gay that it conceals the reverence with which many ancients [pagans] regarded this symbol of `life and death.'" - How It Started, p. 51.
"… the symbol of the egg generated not from Christian observances, but from pagan rituals. From earliest times, the egg has been a symbol of fertility and immortality. During the rites of spring, the pagan nations included it as a symbol of celebrating for the new life promised during the season of planting. The Church only took this ancient sign and applied it as a visual lesson to the resurrection of Christ." – p. 232, The Christian Book of Why, J. C. McCollister (Lutheran pastor and university professor), Jonathan David Publishers, 1983.
"Like the egg, the rabbit has been a symbol of fertility, the observance of which was a part of the Anglo-Saxon mythology and the pagan's celebration of spring, In a blend of Christian and pagan traditions, the rabbit was adopted as part of the festival of Jesus' resurrection celebrated during the spring each year." – pp. 233-234, McCollister.
"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.... The rabbit is a pagan symbol and has always been an emblem of fertility." - The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913, Vol. V, p. 227.
So when children hunt for Easter eggs (left by the `Easter Bunny'),
"This is not mere child's play, but the vestige of a [pagan] fertility rite." - Funk and Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend, Vol. 1, p. 335.
The Encyclopædia Britannica, eleventh edition, volume 8, page 828:
"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 was an idea absent from the minds of the first Christians. . . . The ecclesiastical historian Socrates (Hist. Eccl. v. 22) states, with perfect truth, that neither the Lord nor his apostles enjoined the keeping of this or any other festival . . . and he attributes the observance of Easter by the church to the perpetuation of an old usage, `just as many other customs have been established.'"
The `old usage' was the practice by pagans of having a festival in honor of their goddess of spring.
* * * *
"What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? .... `Therefore come out from them and be separate,' says the Lord. `Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you ...' says the Lord Almighty." - 2 Cor. 6:16, 17, NIVSB. [NIVSB f.n.: "agreement...between the temple of God and idols. There can be no reversion to or compromise with the idolatry they have forsaken for the gospel (cf. 1 Th. 1:9)."]
For more, see:
Easter - Who Does It Really Honor?
Articles from the WBTS:
Beliefs and Customs That Displease God
In 16 well-illustrated lessons, this brochure presents the Bible's basic teachings.
Should We Celebrate Holidays?
The origin of religious celebrations has a bearing on whether they please God.