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Has Easter Lost it's True Meaning?

I couldn't wait to take my two-year-old grandson to church this morning for Easter because he looked so handsome in the outfit I bought for him. I was like that with my daughter and I remember my parents were the same with me.

But is that what Easter is all about---dressing up in your newly purchased colorful spring outfits and parading yourself in front of others in God's house?

As a baby boomer I believe Easter, just like Christmas, has lost its meaning over the years as we focus more on the materialism associated with it instead of the death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Did you know the word “Easter” doesn’t have anything to do with the Christian celebration? It is derived from the name of a German deity, Estre or Ostra. She was the goddess of the rising sun and spring, and was celebrated in springtime festivals.

Did you also know that rabbits are an ancient pagan symbol? They represent fertility and are associated with the re-awakening of the land in springtime. Bunnies were first associated with Easter celebrations in the 1500s, and by the early 1800s, German bakers were selling Easter bunnies made from chocolate and pastry.

Eggs, which are laid by birds and from which new birds emerge, were symbols of new life and rebirth long before the Christian era began. In the early days of the church, the consumption of eggs during Lent was prohibited, so decorating them and giving them as gifts on Easter became a way of celebrating the resurrection.

The tradition of the Easter Bunny bringing gifts to children Easter morning is also from Germany, where he was known as Oschter Haws. Initially, the bunny left his treats in a nest made for him by children. Later, the tradition merged with the notion of the Easter basket.

So what do you think? Are we, as a society, obsessed with traditions that have no value?

Comments

Shaun said…
I remember learning in my graduate studies that the early church, in an effort to gain more members, incorporated into it other celebrations and traditions, like Ostara (Easter) and Saturnalia (a Roman holiday & festival in December that became the time Christians decided to celebrate Christmas).

So really... I think the real question is, should Christmas and Easter be celebrated as Christian holidays at all? Because they originally were not. Maybe there should be separate days specifically named "The Lord's Birth" or "The Lord's Resurrection." Or, maybe we Christians just celebrate every day as The Lord's Day.

So anyway - If I were to be a Christian purist (not saying that I am), then I don't think we can point the finger only at our modern society - but also to those early Christians who made compromises and took other faith traditions as their own in order to gain more members.
Beverly said…
Shaun,

I am in agreement with you. I actually read somewhere that Easter wasn't considered a Christian holiday at all.

Christian missionaries seeking to convert the tribes of northern Europe noticed that the Christian holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus roughly coincided with the Teutonic springtime celebrations, which emphasized the triumph of life over death. Christian Easter gradually absorbed the traditional symbols.

Amazing how some things have gotten a little twisted throughout the centuries.

Thanks for your insightful comments.
Karlyn said…
I guess it depends on what Easter means to you in the first place. Growing up, it was the day my family got together, enjoyed the beautiful weather, got all caught up in each others business and then shared a meal.. a great meal! Today, it's the same with my husband and children. Wherever "Easter" and "Rabbits" began is not real important, but the tradition of family on that day continues on.
Heidi Caswell said…
Whatever the origins of any holiday, I think it is how we celebrate, that matters most. I love Easter and spring, everything in bloom, esp. the dogwoods right now, new life.

Yes, we dye eggs, hunt easter eggs, although the easter bunny never came by. Traditions, and my kids must dye eggs and have an egg hunt. Family togetherness. They remember times such as when an egg was hide in Holly's hood. Eggs lost and not found until weeks later, I think they have as much hiding as finding.

Still Christ is the center of the holiday, and his gift to us. Also a great day to remember and honor those who have passed on before us. To be thankful in the knowledge that one day we will be with them again.
kenneth sena said…
kenneth sena says

"we should not think about holidays dear. what we should think is the meaning why we should celebrate easter. it is not of the holiday that we celebrate." (www.kika.ca)
Susan Adcox said…
I think it's important to realize that not all Christians celebrate Easter and Christmas as religious holidays, for the very reasons mentioned here. While the Bible requires Christians to celebrate Christ's death and resurrection, it does not mention doing so on Easter. Christians who choose not to celebrate Easter and Christmas as religious holidays are still Christians. I think it's time to stop admonishing people to remember the "true meaning" of Easter and Christmas. The true meaning of these holidays can differ even among Christians.

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