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A Brief History of Easter

A Brief History of Easter

While Easter is of course the most significant day on the Christian calendar, the roots of the celebration we know as Easter go back quite a bit further than Christianity itself. The modern celebration of Easter has pagan and Hebrew origins, as well as Christian ones. The holiday we know today as Easter represents the convergence of these Christian, Hebrew and pagan roots.

Pagan Origins of Easter

In Pagan societies the coming of spring was a time of great celebration, and Pagan societies from all corners of the globe celebrated the vernal equinox, or the first day of spring, on March 21. These spring festivals represented the resurrection, or rebirth, of the earth after the cold of winter.

Hebrew Origins of Easter

Just as the Christian religion has its roots in Judaism, so too do many of the traditions of Easter have their roots in Hebrew tradition. In Hebrew tradition, the month of April was celebrated as "mensis paschalis". The root pasch comes from the Hebrew word pasch, or Passover, and Jews around the world celebrate Passover each year.

Christian Origins of Easter

Even though the Easter holiday has its roots in many older traditions, Easter is truly a Christian holiday. In fact, it is Easter, not Christmas, that is generally held to be the most sacred date on the Christian calendar.

It was during the season of Passover in the city of Jerusalem that Jesus was crucified, buried and rose from the dead, and it is this central miracle from which Easter derives its power and its magic. As the story of Jesus' death and resurrection spread throughout the ancient land, the name Pasch was often used to refer to the celebration. This certainly made sense, given the history and the fact that the central events took place during the Passover celebration.

The testaments of the four apostles make no mention of an Easter observance, and in fact the early Christians are thought to have continued celebrating the Jewish festivals as they had always done. It seems that the celebration of Easter grew out of the Passover tradition, with Christ becoming the true Paschal Lamb.

Comments (1)

Easter does not have a Hebrew origin.....It is not in the Bible but perhaps one version which added it in. Passover however, was three days and three nights from the original sabbath. Which would make it on MOnday or Tuesday. (Jewish sabbath Friday night dusk to Saturday night dusk) The PAgan origin is about Istar (pronounces Easter) and she marries her son and they have a child named Tammuz, and he is killed by a wild boar. Hence, eating of ham on easter, and Tammuz loved bunnies, the eggs are symbols of fertility. Easter and Passover are not the one and the same.

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