There is a growing number of Christians who think that the celebration of “Easter” is rooted in pagan traditions. One of the basic assumptions is that the name “Easter” is a Christian appropriation of “Ishtar,” a Babylonian fertility goddess. Even though the words may sound similar, they probably have no etymological connection. The English word “Easter” likely comes from the Proto-Germanic “austron,” which means “sunrise” – arguably a fitting name for a celebration that commemorates Jesus’ rising from the dead.

It is important to understand that outside of the English-speaking world, “Easter” is known by its proper name “Pascha.” This means that the majority of Christians in the world celebrate “Pascha” — an Aramaic synonym of the Hebrew Pesach, which means “Passover,” rather than “Easter.”

During this feast, traditional Christians celebrate the work of Christ’s redemption, believing that only in His resurrection is God’s forgiveness truly sealed. Because of Jesus’ resurrection, the judgment of God passes over believers just as the Angel of Death passed over the Israelite homes marked by the blood of the lamb during their captivity in Egypt.

However, an average, English-speaking Christian often fails to see the direct connection between “Easter/Pascha” and “Passover/Pesach.” Many of the rituals and customs appear to be different. Also, in order to ensure that no one connected (and therefore confused) the two, it was decided at the Council of Nicea (325 CE) that the feast of Easter/Pascha would be celebrated according to a different calendar: not on the 14th of Nisan as was originally decreed in the Torah of Moses.

Is Easter a Pagan holiday? Not quite. It is fundamentally a biblical holiday, albeit one that has been robbed of its true Jewish character and taken out of its original Israelite setting.

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225 COMMENTS

  1. I have a question. I'm trying to understand. If Easter "has been robbed of its true Jewish character and taken out of its original Israelite setting" then could it honestly be said to have retained its connections to Passover? When Aaron's sons offered "strange fire" and Uzzah tried to prevent the ark of the covenant from falling off the cart (which was not the way Adonai told them to transport it), they both were struck dead. How is robbing Easter of its true Jewish character and taking it out of its original Israelite setting be any different?
    • I have the same impression after reading this blog. On the one hand - the Sunday (day that Yeshua raised from the dead) is based on a fixed day/date set by a "tradition" is far from scripture) I would have justified it like this in the past... but today, it just does not sit well when we are brought to the attention of how Passover works - the meaning and the fulfillment ... I pray this blog being well intentioned ... does not answer fully the debate about GOOD-FRIDAY (Also related in the matter) and EASTER!

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    • You have a fantastic thought here! & With all due respect to the article's author, as this website and its writers are sincere in their pursuit of Hebrew origins of so-called Christianity. This started as an effort at rationalization & ended up sounding like double talk as you pointed out.

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    • I agree with the comments. First, Y'shua HaMashiach never commanded or even urged to celebrate any festival and neither he said to celebrate his resurrection. Second, He only commanded for holy communion without date or timing. Easter and pascha don't have any connection with true Christianity. They are additions.

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    • Hot Cross Buns – # 1 – Forbidden During Unleavened Bread # 2 – They are Cakes Baked to the “QUEEN OF HEAVEN” ISHTAR. Furthermore – ISHTAR “Sunrise Services” have NOTHING to do with Yeshua rising from the grave! When the Women got to the tomb on the first day – IT WAS STILL DARK and Yeshua was ALREADY RISEN!!!! 40 Days of Lent = Weeping For Tammuz - see Ezekiel 8 :14!!! SUNRISE SERVICES = “you shall see greater abominations… their faces toward the east; and they worshiped the sun toward the east.” Ezekiel 8:16

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    • That was my question also.It doesnt make any sense to me if it is a biblical festival then why do we have easter eggs etc and Christmas trees and all that.

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    • Melusi: aus Angsthasen werden Osterhasen - afraid people are called Angsthasen rabbits which will run away can be born again and eggs = come out of their scell.

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    • Acts - 1 12.Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called the mount of Olives, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath-day's journey off.

      Jesus ascended to Heaven on the Sabbath-Day and not Sunday. Count 40 days from that Sabbath Day, then we can find which day Jesus was resurrected.

      http://intercontinentalcog.org/Appendix/Passover_dates_26-34_AD.php
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  2. I disagree totally with the previous statement, and Easter is totally "pagan." The scripture is very clear about Passover when you looked at Exo. 12:43-48, Deut 16:1-7; and In the time of Yeshua - the leaven he was talking about is the "Hypocrisy" of the Pharisees and Sadducees Luke 12:1ff...Thanks

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    • Jonah Doctura, Another story he gave to them: The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took, and put in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened. Mat 13:33 BBE. it isn't ONLY hypocrisy.
    • Phil, After Jesus had risen early on the first day of that week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had driven out seven demons.  Mar 16:9 ISV

      without the punctuation. He appeared to the Mary early on the first day. "Sunday", Shavuot is always on Sunday. Shalom
  3. Every Christian I've ever met, and I speak only English, know that Christ is the passover, is the lamb, the shed blood...most English speaking Christians know the historicity of ALL that Christ our lord fulfilled according to the scriptures. Christianity conquered paganism and stands high above it and replaced it...easy to figure out! One day more holy to one than to another, God judges the heart.
    • God has not changed is mind about the celebrations He put down for us to observe, we Christians are the ones who think we know better than Him, I suggest it is time to go back and study Torah you will be Blessed if you do and obey

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    • Todd Peters:

      Your statement that is lifted from your comment, " Christianity conquered paganism and stands high above it and replaced it...", is intriguing o say the least. Christianity, as it exists today, is so far from the Christianity established by the Apostles after the resurrection of Yesuah it could be called another Christianity.

      If Christianity had indeed "conquered paganism and stands high above it and replaced it", There would be no celebration called Easter in Christiandom. If you research the early roots of what most Christians call "Easter", you will discover Christ is nowhere present. However, a pagan celebration is present.

      Read carefully Dr. Lizorkin-Eyzenberg's words, " it was decided at the Council of Nicea (325 CE) that the feast of Easter/Pascha would be celebrated according to a different calendar: not on the 14th of Nisan as was originally decreed in the Torah of Moses." Who changed the celebration of the Passover and the resurrection of Christ? A council of Bishops and Emperor Constantine 1. Why did they change the date and modified how the day always falls on a Sunday, "Sun Day"? To ensure it would never fall on a weekly Sabbath Day as the result of AntiSemism among the Gentile Christians.

      Easter entered Christianity, Gentile Christianity, through the Roman Church and the Roman Emperor.

      If I conquer paganism and stand above it, I do not incorporate paganism into my worship practices.

      See the comment by Kenneth Samuels below for another slant on the validity of "Easter".

      This is an old posting by the Doctor. I may not reach anyone with my post, but I was led to enter a comment today, your Easter Day.

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    • I love your contribution,we serve what we know but some serves what they know not.God judges the heart according to his ordinances,all the same his laws are written in our hearts in new testament.
  4. Thank you so very much. I greatly appreciate your explanation and intend to use it to explain to those I know that consider Easter a pagan holiday!
  5. I found an unusual definition of Pesach (PaXaCH). There were two meanings that jumped out at me: hopping over (being grabbed by a leg), and to limp. This sounds similar to the story of Jacob. Is the story of Jacob a picture of the Peasach (becoming Israel)?
  6. You can not take something "unholy" and clean it up and offer it back to GOD. Throughout the scriptures that was tried and rejected and punished. Yehovah warned them each time they went into a pagan land to destroy everything, high place and altar less they clean it up and begin to offer sacrifices to HIM using something that had been an abomination in HIS sight. Because HE knew if not they would "try" to merge the two. Scriptures, history and any study will prove 100% that Easter and Passover have nothing in common but "good intentions." Hell is full.."
  7. There was ONE SIGN and ONE SIGN ONLY that Yeshua gave to the Pharisees. READ Matthew 12:39-40. Yeshua died on Passover (a WEDNESDAY that year) . He was put in the tomb BEFORE SUNDOWN before the HIGH SABBATH - THE FIRST DAY OF UNLEAVENED BRED (not the WEEKLY SABBATH.) He rose 72 hours later BEFORE SUNDOWN SATURDAY, the beginning of FIRSTFRUITS. In the morning, while it was still dark, HE WAS ALREADY GONE FROM THE TOMB. -- But deceived people believe the LIE that Yeshua DIED of Friday, and rose SUNDAY MORNING (36 hours later) and DENY THE ONE SIGN
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