Pagan Holidays

 

The first of the pagan holidays is Sunday. It is the most celebrated and the easiest to expose. We have already seen in a separate study that there is no scriptural support for Sunday as a Holy Day or holiday. There are several days that are pagan in origin and yet observed by many people. A few of these are Lent, Ash Wednesday, Valentines Day, and Halloween. However, for this study we will look at only two such days in more detail, Easter and Christmas.

 

As a people that observe the Biblical Sabbath and reject the pagan substitute it is only natural and logical that we would reject the observance of any day that claims religious authority without Biblical support. Letís start with Easter Sunday.

 

Perhaps the most obvious clue to the origins of Easter is its name. The name is derived from a pagan Goddess. Consider the dictionary definition.

 

The American Heritageģ Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Copyright © 2002, 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Eas∑ter (ēstər)

n.

1. A Christian feast commemorating the Resurrection of Jesus.

2. The day on which this feast is observed, the first Sunday following the full moon that occurs on or next after the vernal equinox.

3. Eastertide.

[Middle English ester, from Old English ēastre; see aus- in Indo-European roots.]

 

This is from Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia at www.wikipedia.org

Ēostre (also Ēastre) and Old High German ‘star‚ are the names of a putative Germanic goddess whose Anglo-Saxon month, Ēostur-monath, has given its name to the Christian festival of Easter.

 

Now there is undoubtedly a Christian connection to Easter but the same can be said of most anything that is observed by Christians, Sunday for instance.But adding a Christian twist to a pagan holy day doesnít make it a Christian holy day. Consider this.

(2 Cor 6:14-17 NIV)Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? {15} What harmony is there between Christ and Belial ? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? {16} What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." {17} "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you."

 

Letís look more closely at Easter. How is the day determined? The simple way would be to establish the day of Passover and then count three days and three nights from late on Passover day. But the fact of the matter is much more convoluted. To determine the date of Easter refer back to the dictionary definition. Itís the first Sunday following the full moon that occurs on or next after the vernal equinox. That means it may be a month or more away from the day of the Lordís resurrection. By the way, the resurrection actually occurred three days after the full moon because Passover always falls on the day of a full moon.

 

Whatís the deal with Bunnies and Eggs? Both are fertility symbols related to the fertility goddess for which Easter is named, Ēastre. Isnít it strange that something so closely related to paganism has become a central figure in the celebration of Easter. Itís hard to even imagine a way to relate bunnies and eggs to the resurrection of Christ.

 

I will mention one other common way of observing Easter, the sunrise service. Here is a Biblical reference to a sunrise service.

(Ezek 8:14-16 NIV)Then he brought me to the entrance to the north gate of the house of the LORD, and I saw women sitting there, mourning for Tammuz. {15} He said to me, "Do you see this, son of man? You will see things that are even more detestable than this." {16} He then brought me into the inner court of the house of the LORD, and there at the entrance to the temple, between the portico and the altar, were about twenty-five men. With their backs toward the temple of the LORD and their faces toward the east, they were bowing down to the sun in the east.

Tammuz was a Phoenician deity and the sunrise service was a detestable thing. The question to ask here is how pagan must an event be before it is unacceptable. Look back to 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 for the answer and decide for yourself. Ok, letís move on to Christmas.

 

The name in this case is a compound word that originated as ďChristís Mass. So it has at its root a Catholic ritual set aside to honor Christ. Somehow it became not only Catholic but also Protestant and even secular. People of non-Christian religions also sometimes observe Christmas. Indeed, people of no religion at all may now observe Christmas. Now letís delve a little deeper.

 

Christmas is said to be a celebration of the birth of Christ. But, in fact, the exact day of His birth is unknown. We do know however that He was not born on December 25 or even near that date. How do we know that? Because the Bible records there were shepherds in the fields tending their flocks? (See Luke 2:8) By November the shepherds are no longer in the fields because of the winter cold. Why then was that day chosen? Well there is a birthday on that day or at least there was thought to be. It was on December 25 in ancient times that a winter solstice celebration was held that commemorated the birth of the sun, not the birth of the Son. This was, of course, a pagan celebration. Now that we know the story behind the name and date letís look at some of the traditions.

 

The Christmas tree is one of the most popular of those traditions. Here is a Bible reference that talks about a Christmas tree.

(Jer 10:2-5 NIV)This is what the LORD says: "Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the sky, though the nations are terrified by them. {3} For the customs of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. {4} They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter. {5} Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good."

Tree worship is very old and ancient Israel was inclined towards learning the heathen traditions and worshiping the pagan gods of the nations they came in contact with. So are we. Itís true few people would say they worship the tree but they have learned the pagan ways just the same.

 

Another popular tradition is that of Santa Clause. An article on Father Christmas who has become synonymous with Santa Clause says this, ďThe symbolic personification of Christmas as a merry old figure begins in the early 17th century, in the context of resistance to Puritan criticism of observation of the Christmas feast.Ē So Santa Clause is a relative modern idea and the early American Puritans opposed celebration of Christmas. At any rate Santa Clause is not a Biblical concept and has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus.

 

A little research will show that the yule log, mistletoe, and holly are all items now associated with Christmas but with pagan roots. But perhaps the most intersting thing about Christmas traditions is the giving of presents. Certainly the Wise Men brought gifts to Jesus when He was just a child. However, the gifts were not birthday presents but presents offered to a new King. What the Wise Men did makes sense, but how much sense does it make to offer gifts to each other rather than to the King?

 

There are many other things that could be said about Christmas but anyone seriously wanting to know more will find the pagan roots are not a secret. Go online or to a good reference and you can discover for yourself much more than has been offered here. You may ask yourself if the true spirit of Christmas is in a bottle or why suicicide rates increase during this time. The real question to be asked is the same one asked about Easter. How pagan must an event be before it is unacceptable. Look back to 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 or to Jeremiah 10:2-5 for the answer and decide for yourself.