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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Why Don't Jehovah's Witnesses Celebrate Easter?

There are many wonderful occasions that true Christians observe and commemorate. However, many holidays today have adopted traditions and customs with pagan origins or associations. True Christians should want to know that God does not approve of certain customs if they originate with false religion or are against Bible teachings. (Matthew 15:6) God makes it clear through His Word the Bible that if a Christan intentionally participates in a holiday or custom, it must have absolutely no known pagan religion associations. (Deut. 5:7-9; Exodus 23:13; 2 Cor. 6:17)

So what about Easter's Origins, Traditions and Customs? Are they Christian or are they Pagan?

From early childhood you may have been told that Easter is a Christian celebration that commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, rather than being a Christian celebration, many authoritative works of history clearly show that Easter is pagan, with roots deep in ancient sex worship. (Read some of these Encyclopedia quotes at: Easter - Pagan and Unscriptural - Excerpts from the 4/15/63 and 3/15/68 Watchtowers)

The majority of this page contains quotes and references concerning the pagan origins and associations in connection with: EASTER, COLORED EGGS and the RABBIT; HOT-CROSS-BUNS / "CAKES OF BREAD" and EASTER FIRES.


What do the name "Easter," colored eggs, hot-cross buns, and bunnies have to do with honoring Jesus and Jehovah God?

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.

Easter was

"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 for the moon, 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.)

"ASHERAH and pl. Asherim in Revised Version, instead of "grove" and "groves" of the Authorized Version [KJV]. This was the name of a sensual Canaanitish goddess Astarte, the feminine of the Assyrian Ishtar. Its symbol was the stem of a tree deprived of its boughs, and rudely shaped into an image, and planted in the ground. Such religious symbols ("groves") are frequently alluded to in Scripture (Exodus 34:13; Judges 6:25; 2 Kings 23:6; 1 Kings 16:33, etc.). These images were also sometimes made of silver or of carved stone (2 Kings 21:7; "the graven image of Asherah," R.V.). (See GROVE [1].). – Easton's Bible Dictionary, Thomas Nelson Publ.
"ISHTAR, principal Babylonian and Assyrian goddess, equivalent to the Sumerian Innin and the Phoenician Astarte .... intimately concerned with the giving or spilling of life, was goddess both of sexual activities and of war." - p. 440, Vol. 9, Encyclopedia International, Grolier, 1966.

`Easter' is the North European (and American) name of the same pagan goddess also known as Asherah & Astarte (Canaanite) and Ishtar (Babylonian & Assyrian).

So we see that the Bible's commands and dire warnings about Asherah must certainly include her other names: Astarte, Ishtar, and Easter!


"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.


"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.

The Rev. Alexander Hislop in his The Two Babylons proved that the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre (or Eastre) was none other than the infamous Ishtar of Babylon, the Queen of the Heavens, and those two names (Eastre and Ishtar) were even pronounced the same: `Ee-star.' He informs us that the worship of Bel and Ishtar was introduced into Britain at a very early date by the Druids. From Bel comes the name of the pagan festival Beltane. Hislop tells us that even as late as the 19th century Beltane was celebrated every year in Britain as follows: The people assemble in a circle and light a fire in the center. Each person places a small piece of oat-cake in a hat. They all sit and draw from the hat. Whoever draws the blackened piece of oat-cake (you'd expect it to be a straw or stick or stone, wouldn't you?) has to jump through the fire in the center of the circle, and pay a penalty fee.

"This is," says Hislop, "in fact, a part of the ancient worship of Baal [Bel], and the person on whom the lot fell was [in earlier times] burnt as a sacrifice. Now, the passing through the fire represents that [earlier human sacrifice]...."Hislop continues, "If Baal [Bel] was thus worshipped in Britain, it will not be difficult to believe that his consort [Ishtar also known as Astarte] was also added by our ancestors, and that from ... Ishtar, the religious solemnities of April ... are [now] called by the name of Easter." Hislop further tells us that the entire month of April (including the last day when the evening Beltane Fires were usually kindled) was called "Easter-monath". - p. 104.

Weiser also tells us that such bonfires were originally banned by the church as being a pagan symbolism (Synod of Mainz, 742 A. D.). However, "Saint" Patrick introduced the practice in Ireland "to supplant the Druidic pagan spring fires with a Christian [?] and religious fire symbol of Christ... This tolerated custom became so popular eventually that the popes incorporated it into the liturgy of the Western Church in the latter part of the ninth century." And so it became popular in much of Western Europe. - The Easter Book, Francis Weiser, S. J.

"In spite of the thin cloak of Christianity thrown over these customs [Easter Fires] we can hardly doubt that they are really of pagan origin." - p. 703, The New Golden Bough by Sir James G. Frazer as revised and edited by Dr. Theodor Gaster, A Mentor Book, 1964 printing.

Frazer relates many accounts of Beltane Fires and "May" Fires in Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Sweden, and other northern European countries in the relatively recent past. They often have these things in common: Large fires are kindled (usually on hills) in late April or early May. Sacrificial cakes (often of oats - sometimes with eggs) are used - sometimes ceremonially eaten, sometimes used in other rituals. People (most often children) are "sacrificed" in the fires: Some are actually dragged up to the fire and seemingly about to be thrown in before being stopped; some are actually spread on the ground as though to be cut into quarters before being "thrown into" the fire; and, more often, children and young people jump over the fires often passing through the flames. (These purely pagan customs were still very popular in many places of northern Europe even as late as the mid-1800's. For example, Frazer tells us: "On the first of May, 1837 the Baal fires were, as usual on that day, so numerous as to give the [Isle of Man] the appearance of a general conflagration." And, "On the Hemlock Stone, a natural pillar of sandstone standing on Stapleford Hill in Nottinghamshire, a fire used to be solemnly kindled every year [up into the 1800's] on Beltane Eve." - p. 708, #531, The New Golden Bough.)

The "cakes of bread" have become "hot cross buns" at Easter and the Beltane fires have become Easter Fires, but both clearly betray their pagan-inspired origins in which they, together, honored false gods, notably Ishtar (Easter) and Bel (Baal or Molech).

Yes, the "hot cross bun" commemorates a ritual honoring Ishtar (and Eastre), and the Easter Fires commemorate the ritual fires and terrible human sacrifices that were an essential part of worshipping the god Bel (Baal or Molech) Ishtar's consort.

Now notice how this very same double custom was condemned by God.

In Jeremiah 7 Jehovah God tells that he will destroy "his people" of the southern kingdom of Judah (including Jerusalem and the Temple) because of their disobedience. They honor other gods and then come and stand in God's house which bears his sacred name and say, `We are safe' - - safe to do all these detestable things. And how will it end for them?

"I will thrust you from my presence, just as I did all your brothers [the northern 10 tribes of Israel who had been destroyed or taken away as slaves]."


"Do you not see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes of bread for the Queen of Heaven [The NIV Study Bible footnote for this verse says: `Queen of Heaven. A Babylonian title for Ishtar']."


"The people of Judah have built the high places of Topheth [NIVSB footnote: `place of child sacrifice'] in the valley of Ben Hinnom to burn their sons and daughters in the fire." - Jeremiah 7:9, 10, 13-15, 30, 31, NIVSB.

"The heathen practice of making children `pass through the fire' was occasionally practiced by the Israelites ... and was included in the condemnations of the prophets." And, "The OT often speaks of the fact that Israelites at times of apostasy made their children `go through the fire to Molech' (2 Kings 23:10; cf. Jeremiah 7:31; 19:5). In some passages the reference is clearly to a deity to whom human sacrifice was made...." - pp. 377, 789, New Bible Dictionary, Second edition, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1982.

So how should we react to the "deceptive words" of those who tell us we can make a pagan ritual into something pleasing to God? Were God's chosen people ever able to do that?

"This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD [Jehovah]: `Stand at the gate of [Jehovah's] house and there proclaim this message: "Hear the word of [Jehovah], all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship [Jehovah]. [These people really firmly believe they are God's saved people and that they are worshiping him in an acceptable manner.] This is what [Jehovah] Almighty, the God of Israel, says: `Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. Do not trust in deceptive words and say "This is the temple of the LORD [so we are automatically saved no matter what]...."'"'" - Jeremiah 7:1-4, 8, NIVSB

If pagan ceremonies, customs, god names, etc. are really mixed in with ceremonies, customs, etc. that we use to honor God and Christ, they are not merely unacceptable - - - they are detestable to God. We must completely get away from these unclean things and not even "touch" them. "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." - 2 Cor. 6:17

"I am Jehovah thy God...Thou shalt have no other gods before me." (Deut. 5:7-9) ASV

"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

(Originally Posted April 2, 2011)

Also see:

EASTER (INDEX; Watchtower Online Library)

EASTER—FERTILITY WORSHIP IN DISGUISE (lv chap. 13 pp. 144-159; Watchtower Online Library)

What is the origin of Easter and the customs associated with it? (rs p. 176-p. 182; Watchtower Online Library)

Why don’t Jehovah’s Witnesses celebrate Easter? (JW.ORG)

What Does the Bible Say About Easter? (JW.ORG)

Easter or the Memorial—Which Should You Observe? (JW.ORG)

Should We Celebrate Holidays? (bh p. 222-p. 223; Watchtower Online Library) “There is no indication of the observance of the Easter festival in the New Testament,” states The Encyclopædia Britannica. How did Easter get started?

Easter - Links to Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Why Don't Jehovah's Witnesses Celebrate Easter? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

EASTER - Does It Have Any Pagan Religious Associations? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Easter - Pagan and Unscriptural (Excerpts from the 4/15/63 and  3/15/68 Watchtowers; Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Easter - What do Colored Eggs, Bunnies and Hot-Cross Buns Have to do With Honoring Jesus and God? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Does the Word 'Easter' Belong in a Bible Translation? (Acts 12:4; KJV) (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Easter - Who Does It Really Honor? (Jehovah's Witnesses United) "What is the meaning and origin of Easter? Who is honored by the holiday? What are its symbols? Were early Christians commanded to celebrate Easter? Should true Christians celebrate Easter today? The first four questions, and more, will be answered in this paper...

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