Easter isn’t a Christian holiday either

That’s right, we knew Christmas wasn’t really a Christian holiday… well, neither is Easter.

Easter celebrations were held hundreds of years before Christ was born as festivals of spring honoring Eostre, the great mother goddess of the Saxons. This name was fashioned after the ancient word for spring, Eastre. The goddess Ostara was the Norse equivalent whose symbols were the hare and the egg. From this comes our modern tradition of celebrating Easter with eggs and bunnies. There are several goddesses that are associated with this practice:

  • Aphrodite from ancient Cyprus
  • Ashtoreth from ancient Israel
  • Astarte from ancient Greece
  • Demeter from Mycenae
  • Hathor from ancient Egypt
  • Ishtar from Assyria
  • Kali, from India
  • Ostara a Norse Goddess of fertility

In the Mediterranean region, there was a pre-Christian spring celebration centered around the vernal equinox (March 20 or 21) that honored Cybele, the Phrygian goddess of fertility. Cybele’s consort, Attis, was considered born of a virgin and was believed to have died and been resurrected three days later. Attis derived his mythology from even earlier gods, Osiris, Dionysus, and Orpheus, who also were supposed to have been born of a virgin and suffered death and resurrection as long as 500 years before Christ was born. The death of Attis was commemorated on a Friday and the resurrection was celebrated three days later on Sunday.

There are other Easter traditions that are pagan in origin. The Easter sunrise service is derived from the ancient pagan practice of welcoming the sun on the morning of the spring equinox, marking the beginning of spring. What we now call Easter lilies were revered by the ancients as symbols of fertility and representative of the male genitalia. The ancient Babylonian religions had rituals involving dyed eggs as did the ancient Egyptians.

The Christian version of Easter is celebrated after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. Modern day neo-pagans usually have their spring celebrations on the day of the equinox. Either way, these celebrations have gone on every year continuously for over 2500 years. So, this Sunday, if you go to an Easter sunrise service, hunt for colored eggs or eat marshmallow bunnies, remember you are indulging in pagan rituals that celebrate fertility and the advent of springtime!

Learn more about these ancient traditions IN THIS ARTICLE

  • Tyler

    When was Eostre honored? The only time Eostre has ever been mentioned was in the 8th century, by Bede, in his work "The Reckoning of Time" which does not provide a date for Eostre being honored. However, Christians started celebrating Easter in 325 AD. For an atheist site you guys spend a lot of time discussing religion. Did I see that there is an atheist anti Easter celebration? It would appear to me that this website is very very religious. It is just anti-god not atheist.

    • bornagainheathen

      Eostre was ‘honored’ at the coming of spring, Tyler.
      That’s what the word ‘easter’ means.
      This website isn’t religious.
      It’s anti-god and atheist.

    • steve theman

      actually you are wrong on that, 44 ad is when christians started celebrating easter. Easter in 44ad was when the romans arrested peter.

  • RDG

    how many things are only mentioned in the Bible that Christians believe in?

    • Tyler

      Apparently you didn't understand what I was saying, so I will make it clear for you. I was not arguing the validity of religion at all. I was trying to point out that the writer of this article paid absolutely no attention to fact. Isn't that what atheists are supposed to believe in? The writer of this article was stating that these two goddesses or whatever they are were worshiped before the year 1 A.D. There is no proof of this in recorded history. The goddess Eostre and Ostara have no date attached to her time of honoring. From what I have found both of these deities are nothing more than figments of Bede's imagination. If you are going to present something as a fact then you should do some research. Your argument makes absolutely no sense at all. My cousin got me to read some of these articles, and I have to say that the majority of the articles on this website appear to have been written by children and edited my a retarded chimpanzee. If all of you atheists want to try and grow up and wax intellectual with the rest of the world then maybe you should do some good old fashioned research. Maybe that is why this site only has 2,000 fans.

  • Don

    Hi Adam,

    I remember you posted a similar sort of list at Christmas that was challenged for placing it on this website. Again, pretty much all these 'parallels' are not known to any scholars, or indeed can any sources for them be shown. They aren't known, they seem…well, made up. I can understanding wanting to have the most effective arguments against Christians, but aren't you meant to provide the paradigm of truth, of free-thinking, sober-minded thought? Isn't that the whole point? Looking forward to hearing from you again.

  • Kevin Pettay

    Can you provide more than one historical work for the contents of Genesis?

  • Pingback: Easter. Seriously. « One Furious Llama

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Maria-Melo/100000837637969 Maria Melo

    That was nice to know and quite interesting.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Maria-Melo/100000837637969 Maria Melo

    That was a very nice reading, it is quite interesting, and otherwise, i coudn´t associate the eggs and bunnies  with  the christian Easter. 
    Here come a real Easter massacre, when eligious freedom was not a human right (inspired by religion).

    http://www.google.pt/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=easter+massacre+in+lisbon&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CDcQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.zionism-israel.com%2Fdic%2FLisbon_Massacre_1506.htm&ei=QYh_T8rdH6Xb0QWJyb3qBg&usg=AFQjCNEClvL4i662xl2iesGzl1ehdd5xWA

  • Montiem30

    Interesting. I always wondered about the origin of the word “Easter”.

  • Craig Dunain

    How unusual for the Christians to hi-jack someone else’s festival and claim it as their own and with basis of fact. The simple truth is that even the Catholic church and the rest of the Christians cannot even agree an exact date for this miracle they celebrate, nor which one of the four versions they argue over, actually believe, The manual they worship from was put together in c.354AD by the first Roman emperor to convert to their particular cult. With many missing chapters and sections, and other parts lost in translation, and further bits edited out or in as successive monarchs and rulers pleased, then this manual the so faithfully syand by can be regarded as nothing more than a book of Chinese whispers. No doubt there will be some Christian refute this with the usual pile of chapter and verse rhetoric ending with how I will be eternally damned by not letting God into my life and accepting Jesus into my heart. At the moment, however I’m more inclined to believe Harry Potter. (The work of Lucifier I’ve bee told incidentally by yet another of the fundamentalist caustic Christians).  Happy Pagan Eastre! :o )