As both an agnostic in the present, and a youth who was raised among a Christian family, I was never actively involved in Easter. In the latest years of my life, I find myself astounded to see so many Christians practicing such a blatantly pagan tradition, ignorant of what they are doing.
Honestly, this is one of those topics that makes me scratch my head or facepalm, every time I hear about it. Every year, when Easter comes around, I think, “oh great, it’s THAT time again.” Then I get to spend an entire month walking past displays of Easter candy, get to see and hear about the Easter bunny at every other turn, and, my personal favorite, all of the custom messages that Christian churches put by roadways in the hope of ensnaring some poor bastard into their cult.
That sure does sound harsh doesn’t it? I won’t make any qualms about it, my views WILL offend you if you are religious, close-minded, and uptight. This is your only warning.
You’re still here? Excellent.
There are better articles than mine, and videos such as Zeitgeist (2007), that go into more exhaustive detail on this subject, especially since this is basically a rant post more than anything. I will quickly go over some basics, however:
The name Easter, is derived from the Germanic goddess Eostre (who is probably a variation or deviation of the Norse goddess Freya), and a second, likely influence on the name and/or pronunciation comes from the Sumerian goddess Ishtar.
The celebration of a saviour’s resurrection after death is not exclusive to Christianity, nor the figure of Jesus Christ, but is in fact a tradition that has been tied to many other such figures throughout history. One need look no further than ancient Egypt’s Horus, or other divine entities such as Mithras or Dionysus, to see that the commemoration of Jesus Christ’s death and subsequent resurrection is just the latest manifestation of a pattern that has been repeating itself for millenia, and is little more than a glorified representation of the cycle which Earth, Luna, and Sol all go through every year. It is a cycle of death, life, rebirth, rejuvenation, and renewal that is simply a part of nature and existence, but primitive humans, who could only seem to grasp these ideas within the trappings of religion or some belief system, created an elaborate explanation of these natural things, as the works of gods and deities, an idea that stubbornly clings to mankind to this day.
I find it especially frustrating to see such blatant hypocrisy on the part of modern Christians. I have read the Christian Bible from cover to cover, and there is no single commandment or decree within its pages requiring the commemoration of Easter, and no single reference to eggs, bunnies, or candy. Easter is a bastardized combination of old European customs and religions, the tales of other deities who have experienced death and resurrection, and the lunar-based calendar and traditions of ancient Judaism. Like so many other “holidays” and traditions, the Catholic Church (and by extension the Protestants and Catholicism’s other offshoots) simply absorbed the pagan traditions that are part of Easter, into their own belief structure, in order to pacify and acquire more subjects into their fold.
This particular human is not impressed, nor amused, but merely annoyed.